212: Godzilla vs. Megalon
by Wyn Hilty
Jacuzzi of the Gods!
A Jacuzzi is a trademarked brand of hot tub; they also make whirlpool tubs, luxury showers, swimming pool equipment, and more. Chariots of the Gods? is a 1968 book written by Erich Von Daniken, in which he postulated that the pyramids of ancient Egypt and other ancient monuments were built with extraterrestrial assistance.
War is not good for monsters and other living things.
A paraphrase of an anti-war slogan from the Vietnam War era: “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” It has since become a pop-culture catchphrase, with all sorts of variations depending on the user’s political inclinations (e.g., “The Drug War is not healthy for children and other living things.”).
Bless the beasts ... –And the monsters.
Bless the Beasts and Children was originally a 1970 novel by Glendon Swarthout, about a group of troubled boys shipped off to a summer camp by their wealthy parents, who work together to stop a buffalo hunt. It was made into a film the following year starring Bill “Danger, Will Robinson!” Mumy. The theme song for the film, also called “Bless the Beasts and Children,” was performed by The Carpenters, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song. It lost to Isaac Hayes for the “Theme to Shaft.”
Stop the madness! Stop Monster Island—I want to get off!
"Stop the Madness" was an anti-drug music video made by the Reagan administration in 1985. It starred, among others, LaToya Jackson, Whitney Houston, and David Hasselhoff. The slogan was later adopted by CBS for a series of anti-drug PSAs. Stop the World—I Want to Get Off is a stage musical that opened on Broadway in 1962 and ran for 555 performances. It was written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley; Newley also starred in the show. It was turned into a movie in 1966, which starred Millicent Martin and Tony Tanner.
Huh! Spiny Norman.
Spiny Norman was the name of the giant hedgehog that stalked Dinsdale Piranha in the Piranha Brothers sketch that aired on Monty Python’s Flying Circus. A sampling of the relevant dialogue:
Interviewer: Was there anything unusual about him?
Gloria: I should say not. Dinsdale was a perfectly normal person in every way. Except inasmuch as he was convinced that he was being watched by a giant hedgehog, whom he referred to as Spiny Norman.
Interviewer: How big was Norman supposed to be?
Gloria: Normally he was wont to be about twelve feet from nose to tail, but when Dinsdale was very depressed, Norman could be anything up to eight hundred yards long. When Norman was about, Dinsdale would go very quiet and his nose would swell up and his teeth would start moving about and he’d become very violent and claim that he’d laid Stanley Baldwin. Dinsdale was a gentleman. And what’s more, he knew how to treat a female impersonator.
Godzilla’s back, and someone’s got to pay.
Godzilla is a Japanese kaiju ("strange beast") that has appeared in more than thirty films since 1954. In Japanese, Godzilla's name is "Gojira," which is a portmanteau made from the Japanese words for gorilla and whale.
A screamer is a type of firework that emits a high, piercing whistle when it goes off.
A film by Ingmar Bergman.
Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) was a writer/director/producer/actor who was one of the most highly respected filmmakers of the 20th century. His films include The Seventh Seal (1957), Persona (1966), and Cries and Whispers (1972).
[Imitating.] And now, right here on our stage, Topo Eizo. –Toho. –Oh.
An imitation of Ed Sullivan, the host of The Ed Sullivan Show, which aired from 1948-1971. Topo Gigio is an Italian-Spanish mouse character with an international cult following. Although it expanded in several mediums, it is best known in puppet form. Topo was a frequent guest on The Ed Sullivan Show. Toho (in this case, subsidiary Toho-Eizo) is a Japanese studio responsible for many sci-fi and monster films throughout the late 20th century, including all the Godzilla movies.
Okay, technologically advanced people, huh? Give me a break! They can make high-definition TVs, but they can’t make decent water toys.
Strange as it might seem to hear a reference to “high-definition TVs” in a show broadcast in 1991, “high-definition” as an industry term dates back to the 1930s. The first true high-def system was a black-and-white one developed in 1949 France with 768i resolution (minimal HD today is 720i), and they actually broadcasted in this format until 1985. The Soviet Union developed an HD system in the late 1950s called “Transformator,” but it was never released. In 1979, the Japanese network NHK began work in earnest on the systems that would lead to modern HDTVs. The technology was developed for and finally introduced in the United States in the early 1990s. The first sets cost nearly $10,000, and the first broadcasts came from Raleigh, North Carolina, station WRAL in 1996.
He stole Wayne Newton’s suit.
Wayne Newton is a singer who has only had a few radio hits, most especially 1963’s “Danke Schoen.” But in Las Vegas he is one of the most popular entertainers in the city’s history, earning $1 million per month at his peak. He filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s but quickly recovered financially.
Let’s do some shooters.
A shooter is a small alcoholic drink, usually no larger than one to two ounces, that is meant to be drunk in one shot—hence the name.
Hey, is this stuff 3.2?
3.2 beer, a.k.a. “near beer,” is beer that is 3.2 percent alcohol, as compared with regular-strength beer at 5 to 7 percent. The beer revolution has left just two states — Utah and Minnesota — where only 3.2 percent beer may be sold in grocery and convenience stores.
Schlitz malt liquor for years used the image of a bull bursting through a wall to sell its products.
“A quake!” No, quisp.
Quake and Quisp were two brands of kiddie cereal in the 1960s. Although they were both manufactured by the Quaker Oats Company, the cartoon spokesmen (a space alien for Quisp; a miner for Quake) carried on a mock rivalry in commercials, which were animated by Jay Ward of Rocky and Bullwinkle fame.
“Rok-chan!” You don’t have to put on the red dress!
A paraphrase of the song “Roxanne,” by The Police. Sample lyrics: “Roxanne/You don’t have to wear that dress tonight/Walk the streets for money/You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right.” The suffix "-chan" is a Japanese honorific (like the Western title "Mr."), used for kids.
Come on, Flipper, save him!
Flipper was the dolphin star of a series of movies and TV shows that were released between 1963 and 2000. Although Flipper was a male, the part was actually played by several different female dolphins over the years.
Well, this is what happens when you go in the water less than a half hour before eating. Or after eating.
A reference to the old wives' tale (or, more accurately, old mothers' tale) that one should not go swimming until at least thirty minutes after eating. No less an authority than the Red Cross from the 1930s through the '50s taught that doing so could lead to gastrointestinal distress and, therefore, drowning. Practically speaking, waiting awhile after you eat may prevent vomiting, especially if you like to perform belly flops.
Hey, this is better than the Dells!
Wisconsin Dells is a city in south central Wisconsin, popular as a Midwestern tourist destination. Often known as just “The Dells,” the place became divided in 1908 into the Upper and Lower Dells when Kilbourn Dam was constructed on the Wisconsin River. The Dells is home to numerous waterparks, go carts, miniature golf courses, regular golf courses, and a host of other icons of wholesome family fun. “Ever been to The Dells? Let’s ride the ducks” came in at #7 in The Fifty Most Obscure References in The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, referring to The Dells as “that paradise of water playlands, that miniature golf hot-bed…”
I think Billy’s gonna be a boil in the bag dinner soon.
Boil in the bag meals are a staple of campers everywhere: a foil pouch containing a mélange of precooked food. Boil for five minutes or so, and you have a ready-to-eat meal—no muss, no fuss, no pots to scour. Several companies, including Uncle Ben’s, also make boil-in-the-bag rice.
Never before in the annals of kid-dom had a toy been sucked into the whirlpool of death ...
An imitation of the narrator in the movie A Christmas Story, played by Jean Shepherd (who also co-wrote the script, which was loosely based on his memoirs). (Thanks to Michael Grutchfield for this reference.)
Plunge don’t care what you put down there.
Plunge is a brand of liquid drain cleaner, like Drano or Liquid Plumr. This was an old advertising slogan for the brand, dating back to the late 1960s.
Niagara Falls. Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch ...
This phrase comes from an old vaudeville routine that has been used by many comedians. Abbott and Costello used it in a 1944 film called Lost in a Harem; the Three Stooges did a version the same year in their Gents Without Cents; and a third version appeared in an I Love Lucy episode. The author appears to be a vaudeville comedian named Joey Faye (1909-1997).
This week, Moses, starring in Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River.
Moses is a biblical figure, the Jewish leader who in the Old Testament guided his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. Don’t Raise the Bridge, Lower the River is a 1967 movie starring Jerry Lewis as an American con man trying to run a scam on the British. It is based on the novel of the same name. Lewis is a comedian and actor who got his start in the 1940s alongside Dean Martin in the Martin and Lewis comedy team. He made an enormously popular series of slapstick comedies in the 1950s and 1960s, including The Bellboy (1960) and The Nutty Professor (1963). In 1984, Lewis was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor.
We’re gonna need a Tucks pad the size of Tokyo.
Tucks medicated pads are pre-moistened pads soaked in a solution of witch hazel. They are used to relieve the itching and burning sensations associated with hemorrhoids.
[Sung.] In the land of tofu 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!” (Thanks to Aaron Drewniak for this reference.)
With Paul Horn on the flute.
Paul Horn (1930-2014) was a jazz flautist and saxophonist who worked with the likes of Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole and more before pioneering what would become known as the "New Age" sound in the late 1960s. He is perhaps best known for his albums recorded inside the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
[Imitating.] Welcome to Death Valley. The driver is either gone or he's missing.
Death Valley Days was a radio, and then a television anthology series, set in the Wild West, that ran from 1930 to 1975. Each episode was introduced by a host; from 1965 to 1966 that host was Ronald Reagan, his final work as a professional actor before entering politics. However, this recurring riff is actually a reference to a moment in the “Phantom Creeps” short in Show 205, Rocket Attack USA, when a character says, “The driver is gone or he’s hiding” in a very Ronald Reagan-like voice. Some fans came to believe that “The driver is either missing or he’s dead” was something that Ronald Reagan was actually known for saying. Not true.(Thanks to Satellite News for this reference.)
Damn Japanese, buying up everything!
A reference to anti-Japanese sentiments that peaked 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, which drew the ire of many. "Japan bashing" emerged and fueled not only hate crimes, but also pop culture. Antagonists in books such as Rising Sun and films like Black Rain exemplified this. These feelings subsided when the bubbles in Japan's economy popped in the 1990s.
At least they have Yusef Lateef on the flute here.
Yusef Lateef (1920-2013) was a jazz musician known for his skill on the oboe as well as the bassoon, the flute, and several more obscure instruments such as the argol and shanai. He played with Roy Eldridge and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.
I think it was shot blue for night.
Shooting “day for night” is a common photographic technique in movies in which exterior scenes are filmed during the day using special blue filters on the camera that makes the scene appear to be taking place at night. The goal is to save money, since night shoots are considerably more expensive than daytime shoots.
It’s Oscar Wilde!
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a Victorian poet and playwright best known for his stage comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as for his legendary wit. Wilde was one of the central figures in the Aesthetic movement of the late 19th century, which emphasized the importance of beauty and art. Although he had a wife and children, he was accused of sodomy over his close friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas and sentenced to two years of hard labor. He died a few years after his release from prison in 1897.
A reference to Show 104, Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
I have just been liberated by the power of Vicks!
Vicks is a line of over-the-counter cold and flu products, including Vicks VapoDrops cough drops, Vicks VapoRub, Vicks Nyquil, and Vicks 44. I believe this is an old advertising slogan, but I was unable to confirm it.
No, Mommy! Not the kabuki mask, no!
Kabuki is a traditional form of Japanese theater that combines singing, dancing, and mime into a highly stylized art form. Actors (all kabuki performers are male) wear spectacular costumes and elaborate makeup.
Well, I hope he doesn’t ruin Wayne Newton’s jacket.
See note on Wayne Newton, above.
Go, Speed Racer!
Speed Racer was a Japanese animated show that first aired in the United States in 1967. Speed himself was the teenage son of a car designer who, in addition to winning races, solved crimes and foiled supervillains.
[Sung.] Ma, he go-go, ma he go-go, ma he go-go-go! –He's a demon.
Mach Go Go Go was the title of the original Japanese version of Speed Racer (see previous note). The actual lyrics to the theme song, which are paraphrased here: “Mach go go/Mach go go/Mach go go go!” In the English version of the lyrics, the theme goes: "Here he comes/Here comes Speed Racer/He's a demon on wheels ..." (Thanks to Aaron for this reference.)
Let’s see: Boys' Life, Popular Science, Highlights ... My own autopsy report?!
Boys’ Life is the official youth magazine of the Boy Scouts of America. Popular Science is a monthly magazine about science and technology, aimed at a general audience. Highlights is a children’s magazine that has been published since 1946.
Those are Pop Rocks, you idiot!
Pop Rocks are a kind of candy that come in small paper packets; when eaten, they “pop” and fizz in the mouth. Although the fizzing effect was perfectly safe, achieved by incorporating small pockets of carbonation in the candy, rumors quickly spread on playgrounds across the nation that eating Pop Rocks while drinking soda would cause your stomach to explode.
Hey, it’s Bluto! Look! –[Popeye laugh.] –[Imitating Popeye.] Oh, embarrasking! –Oh, Popeye.
Bluto was Popeye’s arch-nemesis and his chief rival for the hand of the strangely rubbery Olive Oyl in the series of short cartoons. He first appeared in the cartoons in 1932, but for a time, thanks to some copyright confusion over who owned the rights to the Bluto name, he was called Brutus.
Good thing he had the Funmobile.
The Funmobile appears to be the car driven by Ronald McDonald, the spokesclown for the McDonald’s chain of fast-food restaurants.
"Damn." You all to hell.
A paraphrase of Charlton Heston’s final lines from the 1968 science-fiction classic Planet of the Apes. (Spoiler alert) On a deserted beach, Heston discovers the remnants of a destroyed Statue of Liberty, and realizes he’s on a post-apocalyptic future Earth. Actual lines: “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was … We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”
Now shut up and finish your Laffy Taffy, kid.
Laffy Taffy is a kind of candy produced by Willy Wonka. It comes in a variety of flavors: banana, cherry, chocolate, grape, orange, sour apple, strawberry, and watermelon.
You know, I think they got this shot from the old Jackie Gleason Show.
The Jackie Gleason Show aired, in various incarnations, between 1952 and 1970. It starred comedian Jackie Gleason, best known to later generations for playing Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners.
According to Dr. Hellstrom, these bugs will take over the world.
A reference to the 1973 science-fiction novel Hellstrom’s Hive, written by Frank Herbert (Dune). The book tells the story of a scientist who runs an underground experiment involving human-insect hybrids.
He’s a maniac, a maniac, and he’s dancing like he’s never danced before. He’s a steeltown boy, on a Saturday ...
This is a paraphrase of the song “Maniac,” performed by Michael Sembello on the soundtrack to the 1983 movie Flashdance. Actual lyrics: “Just a steeltown girl on a Saturday night, lookin’ for the fight of her life .../She’s a maniac, maniac on the floor/And she’s dancing like she’s never danced before.”
They just created Jennifer Beals.
Jennifer Beals is an actress who got her big break playing the lead in the movie Flashdance (see previous note). Two years later she starred in the title role opposite Sting in The Bride, a reworking of Bride of Frankenstein. More recently she has appeared on television shows such as Lie to Me and The L Word.
Now, this controls his kung-fu grip.
In 1974, Hasbro introduced a new feature on its popular G.I. Joe dolls: the “kung-fu grip,” which consisted of soft, flexible rubber hands, as opposed to the rigid plastic hands previously used for the dolls. The phrase made its way into pop culture, turning up on television shows and in movies and songs, such as the following from Sublime’s “Caress Me Down” (warning: unsubtle innuendo ahead): “So she told me to come over and I took that trip/And then she pulled out my mushroom tip/And when it came out it went drip drip drip/I didn't know she had that G.I. Joe kung-fu grip.”
“You bet your life.” Say the secret word, and win a hundred dollars.
An imitation of comedian Groucho Marx in his role as the host of the TV and radio game show You Bet Your Life, which aired from 1947-1960 on all three major radio networks at one time or another, and from 1950 to 1961 on NBC-TV (so it was on TV and radio simultaneously for ten years). Each episode had a “secret word,” and if a contestant unwittingly said the word, a small duck would drop down from the ceiling with a hundred-dollar bill in its beak as a reward. (Thanks to @ItsThatBriGuy for the TV/radio heads-up.)
I’ll sell AT&T, buy a little more of American Can ...
AT&T is an American telecommunications company. It was founded in 1899 as the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. By 1939 AT&T had a near-total monopoly on phone service in the U.S.: it controlled 83 percent of telephones, 98 percent of long-distance service, and 90 percent of phone manufacturing. In 1982, after the federal government brought an antitrust suit against the company, AT&T split off its local telephone divisions into separate companies but continued to offer long-distance service. The breakup presaged the “telephone wars” of the 1980s and 1990s and loosed a barrage of advertising that had many consumers longing for the days of monopolies.
Hey, HAL is reading your lips!
HAL 9000 is the name of the homicidal computer in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. In one scene in the film, HAL discovers that two astronauts are planning to pull the plug on him by reading their lips. Legend has it that the name HAL was derived from IBM, then the chief manufacturer of computers (the letters H-A-L come directly before the letters I-B-M in the alphabet), although author Arthur C. Clarke has denied this.
Down the bunny trail.
Probably from the song “Peter Cottontail.” Sample lyrics: “Here comes Peter Cottontail/Hoppin’ down the bunny trail/Hippity hoppity/Easter’s on its way.”
Didi Seven is an all-purpose household cleaner advertised ubiquitously on late-night TV. Invented by Walter Willmann in 1963 and named for a childhood friend (and his lucky number), the cleaner in a cute little tube became enormously popular in the late 1980s thanks to a barrage of commercials and then-novel infomercials.
Oh, baby, when we see love and find love ... make love, baby ... –That’s a good Barry White there. –Thank you.
Barry White (1944-2003) was a soul singer known for his gigantic frame and deep, gravelly voice. Songs like “You’re My First, My Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” were huge hits in the 1970s. White died at the age of 58; he suffered from kidney failure and had had a stroke two months before his death.
Now we can listen to their cable all day. I think they get the Nashville Network.
The Nashville Network, or TNN, was a cable channel launched in 1983 focusing on country music, along with Dukes of Hazzard reruns and monster truck rallies. It’s since been reformatted and rebranded many times: as The National Network, it focused more on Star Trek reruns; in 2003 it refocused and transformed itself into Spike, the network for men, with all the testosterone that implies. Then in 2018 Spike relaunched as Paramount Network, carrying with it many of Spike’s reality shows, along with Friends and Two and a Half Men reruns. In 2012 a new channel, Heartland, was launched as a revival of the original The Nashville Network.
“Seatopia.” Seatopia. Seatopia run. –Run, topia, run.
A parody of the old “Dick and Jane” children’s books, which were standard reading textbooks from the 1930s to the 1960s. They included such simple, repetitive phrases as “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.”
One problem, though—you caught us in the middle of our production of La Cage aux Folles.
La Cage aux Folles was originally a French stage play by Jean Poiret; in 1978 it was turned into a film. In 1996 an English-language version, called The Birdcage, came out starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. The story centers on a middle-aged gay couple who run a notorious nightclub; one of them has a son from an early liaison with a woman, and the son now wants to get married to the daughter of a conservative politician. The gay couple thus has to pretend to be straight and come up with a “wife” for the father. Hijinks ensue.
Hi. I'm Styro.
Styrofoam is a brand of plastic foam frequently used as a packing material and first made in 1941; it is manufactured by Dow Chemical.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. pan.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a tongue-in-cheek spy series that aired from 1964-1968. It starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, the top agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. The show used a particularly distinctive camera technique to cut between scenes, dubbed the whip pan, in which the camera appeared to move so quickly that the screen became a colorful blur. (Thanks to Tonya Crawford for the whip pan reference.)
Say, these Klan meetings have really lightened up.
The Ku Klux Klan has been a couple of secret organizations over the years; the first was founded just after the Civil War as a vigilante group designed to retain white supremacy in the South by intimidating newly freed Black slaves. It had disappeared within twenty years. But in 1915 the group was revived, inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed the original KKK as a noble band striving to protect civilization from depraved Black people. The official uniform of Klan members was a set of white robes and a pointed white mask, used to conceal the identities of the members. The organization peaked at a membership of about 4 million in the 1920s but had once again died out by the end of World War II. There was another brief resurgence of the Klan in the 1960s in response to the civil rights movement; today its membership is probably only a few thousand, and it has fragmented into several small and competing groups.
Now that Twyla Tharp has joined the Klan, Anna Kisselgoff should give them a good review.
Twyla Tharp is a popular American dancer and choreographer who ran her own dance troupe from 1965-1988, when she disbanded the group and joined the American Ballet Theatre. Anna Kisselgoff is a well-known dance critic for the New York Times.
These Bob Mackie gowns are fabulous!
Bob Mackie is a fashion designer known for spectacular and outrageous outfits that have clung to the bodies of some of America’s most famous divas, including Diana Ross, Cher, Madonna, and Bette Midler. He has also worked in costume design on films, television shows, and stage plays.
Actor Tim Conway (1933-2019), known for his comic turns on such television series as McHale’s Navy (ABC, 1962-1966) and The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967-1978), produced a series of eight mock instructional videotapes in which he stars as a dim and diminutive Scandinavian named Derkus Dorf. The tapes flog a single sight gag: Conway is standing in a hole up to his knees, with shoes attached at ground level, giving the appearance he is only about four feet tall. Titles include Dorf on Golf (1987) and Dorf Goes Fishing (1993).
And it’s the June Taylor lynchers.
June Taylor (1917-2004) was a choreographer who worked on television shows from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her “June Taylor dancers” were a regular feature on the old Jackie Gleason Show.
Remember, Ziegfeld’s in the house tonight!
Florenz Ziegfeld (1867-1932) was one of Broadway’s greatest choreographers. The Ziegfeld Follies, a series of musical revues, were some of Broadway’s most successful shows during the first three decades of the 20th century. Ziegfeld also choreographed the musical Showboat (1927).
“Today, Seatopia.” Tomorrow, Broadway.
“Today, [fill in the blank], tomorrow, Broadway!” is a common phrase, designed to suggest that although the current venture is humble and its scope is limited, widespread fame and success are just around the corner. I was unable to determine the origin of the phrase, however.
The sanctions are just not working.
A reference to economic sanctions placed on Iraq by the United Nations after that country's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. By January of 1991, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had refused to comply with UN orders to retreat from Kuwait (the stated aim of the sanctions), and an alliance of nations led by the U.S. attacked Iraq, forcing its withdrawal. Despite the end of Operation Desert Storm a few months later, the sanctions remained in place until 2003, when Hussein was removed from power by another invasion of the U.S. and allies in the Iraq War. Despite the purported focus of the sanctions, the leadership in Iraq never truly suffered any ill effects. Instead, malnutrition, poor health care, substandard sanitary conditions, terrible education, and more besieged the populace, possibly leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of citizens over the years (not counting the ones killed in the wars).
We’ll harm them ...
This is a take on the line “I’ll harm you!” uttered by comedian Joe Besser (1907-1988) in his persona of Oswald, a bratty character he portrayed on The Abbott and Costello Show (1952-1953).
At least send us a lava lamp or something. Please!
Lava lamps are an icon of 1960s culture, featuring a diamond-shaped glass tube filled with colored water and a waxy ooze that, when heated by a light bulb, flows around the lamp in undulating patterns that are extremely fascinating to people under the influence of mind-altering chemicals. Lava lamps are still sold; they are made by Lava Lite in the U.S. and Mathmos in the rest of the world.
If Siegfried and Roy got a wakeup call, I think it would look something like this.
Siegfried Fischbacher (1939-2021) and Roy Horn (1944-2020) were German-born entertainers known for their illusions and Las Vegas show featuring white tigers. In 2003, Horn was critically injured by one of their tigers. In 2009, after more than five years on hiatus, they staged a final performance and retired.
Jules Podell presents Jubilee 90!
Jules Podell was for decades the manager of the Copacabana, a restaurant/nightclub in New York that drew crowds of celebrities both to its stage and to its audiences. Martin and Lewis performed there, as did Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Lucille Ball, Connie Francis, Nat King Cole—the list goes on and on.
It’s Edward Scissorhands!
Edward Scissorhands was the hero of the 1990 Tim Burton movie by the same name. As played by Johnny Depp, Edward was a gentle outcast whose hands, made from scissors, made it impossible for him to ever touch another person. The film was a rather heavy-handed metaphor for our inability to connect with the people around us.
And his arms look like the Chrysler Building!
The Chrysler Building, built from 1926-1930, is a New York City skyscraper whose distinctive spire is considered the epitome of Art Deco architecture. It was designed by William Van Alen and was briefly the tallest building in the world, until the Empire State Building trumped it in 1931.
He awakes with the worst special effects of the morning.
"They wake with the worst breath of the day” is a line from a series of Scope mouthwash commercials that ran in the 1970s.
Nuthin’ up my sleeve. And presto! –Must be a seven and a half.
In a running gag in the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, Bullwinkle would continually try to pull a rabbit out of a hat, over Rocky’s protests that the trick would fail. Bullwinkle would forge ahead regardless, replying either, “Nothing up my sleeve ... presto!” or “This time for sure ... presto!” Needless to say, the trick never turned out as planned; on one attempt, when Bullwinkle produces a tiger instead of a rabbit, Rocky says "Wrong hat!” to which Bullwinkle replies "I take a seven and a half." Rocky and His Friends, later called The Bullwinkle Show (ABC/NBC, 1959-1964), was created by Jay Ward Productions and has long been loved both by children and by adults, who appreciate the show’s wry humor and cultural satire.
I did this act with David Copperfield in Reno and got standing O’s all week.
David Copperfield is a well-known magician and illusionist who has starred in a series of television specials since the 1970s. Among his more famous stunts: making the Statue of Liberty disappear and walking through the Great Wall of China.
Thank you—I’ll be in Atlantic City next week with funny man Jimmie Walker.
Jimmie Walker is an actor and comedian who is best known for his role of J.J. Evans on the television series Good Times, which aired from 1974-1979. His catchphrase “Dy-no-MIITE!” became famous.
If I could only get to my utility belt! I invented it, you know. Batman stole it from me.
Batman, a superhero staple of comic books who has also appeared in movies, on television, and in animated shows, wears as part of his costume a belt around his waist known as his utility belt. The belt has pouches containing various gadgets that help Batman in his crusade against crime. These gadgets vary, but examples include the Batarang, a boomerang shaped like a bat, and a reel of super-thin cable to help Batman climb walls and swing from rooftops.
We’ve been performing Houdini’s Metamorphosis for years, and now we both end up tied in a box!
Harry Houdini (1874-1926), the professional magician and escape artist, used to perform a famous trick with his wife, Bess, that he called Metamorphosis. In Metamorphosis, one of them would be locked in a trunk, and within seconds the two would seem to change places—the one in the trunk now onstage, and the one onstage now in the trunk. Houdini did not invent the trick, and many magicians after him have duplicated it, but his superb showmanship ensured that it will forever be associated with him.
“I reckon they mean to kill us.” You “reckon”? Hey, you’re Japanese, “Eb-san.”
A possible riff on actor Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003), best known for playing hillbilly patriarch Jed Clampett in the sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies (CBS, 1962-1971), whose downhome speaking style involved starting a lot of sentences with “Well, I reckon …” In Japanese culture, adding “san” to the end of someone’s name is a show of respect and/or endearment.
Now we can watch The Importance of Being Earnest on video.
The Importance of Being Earnest is a play, first produced in 1895, written by Oscar Wilde. It is generally considered his finest work. The play is a satirical farce that tells the story of two young men who have adopted lying as a way of life: one has invented an imaginary friend named Bunbury, who affords him an excuse to escape London for the country, and the other has invented a brother named Earnest that allows him to visit London to see his sweetheart. Hijinks, misunderstandings, and romantic liaisons ensue. The play has been adapted for film and television several times, including a 2002 version starring Rupert Everett and Colin Firth.
This is my Kraft American Singles machine. It’s Swiss!
Kraft American Singles are heavily processed, individually wrapped slices of cheese that are popular among the elementary-school lunch crowd.
Operation, the goofy game for Japanese Oscar Wilde look-alikes.
Operation is a classic children’s game produced by Hasbro, in which players use tweezers to remove 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. See note on Oscar Wilde, above.
Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much. Elvis Presley.
Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, was one of the most popular musicians from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42.
Yukio has left the stadium.
The phrase “Elvis has left the building” stems from a concert given by Elvis Presley (see previous note) in 1956 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Ten thousand screaming young fans crammed themselves into a building on the fairgrounds, and after Elvis’s set, although there were other performers waiting to go on, headed for the exit en masse. The host of the show, Horace Lee Logan, took the microphone and said, "Please, young people ... Elvis has left the building. He has gotten in his car and driven away. ... Please take your seats." The phrase soon became part of the Elvis mythos and was repeated at many of his later shows.
Meanwhile, B.J. and the Bear go to Japan.
B.J. and the Bear was a television series that ran from 1979-1981, about the adventures of a trucker (B.J.) and his pet monkey (the Bear).
In Breaking Training.
The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training was a 1977 film about a Little League team that travels from California to Houston to play the local champions at the Astrodome. It was the second film in the Bad News Bears series. (The next film in the Bad News Bears saga was 1978's The Bad News Bears Go to Japan.)
Now, I’m going to read you part of Picture of Dorian Gray, and I want you to be honest with me.
In the 1987 movie The Princess Bride, Count Rugen (The Six Fingered Man) has the hero Westley bound and attached to a torture machine, and explains he is writing the definitive book on pain and wants Westley’s input, saying “I want you to be totally honest with me on how the machine makes you feel.” The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel by Oscar Wilde (see above note) first published in serial form in 1890. It tells the tale of a young and handsome man who somehow retains his youth and beauty, while a portrait of him becomes steadily more raddled and hideous, reflecting Dorian’s moral bankruptcy despite his outer beauty.
You've been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth for long enough.
A paraphrased line from the 1957 Broadway musical and 1962 film The Music Man. Actual line: "That fella's been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth long enough!"
Either these drapes go or I do. I’m having trouble living up to my china.
According to some sources, Oscar Wilde’s last words were “Either those curtains go or I do.” Other versions give conflicting accounts of his last words: “Either that wallpaper goes or I do,” or “I suppose I shall have to die beyond my means.” Similarly, the wording varies somewhat between sources, but Wilde was reported to have said, “I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china.”
A very frequently used phrase on MST3K. In a 2009 online forum, Joel Hodgson pointed out that the phrase originally came from the comic Jimbo, Adventures in Paradise, by illustrator and Emmy Award–winning Pee-wee’s Playhouse set designer Gary Panter.
Rex Dart pops the clutch and tells the thugs to eat his dust.
Eat My Dust is a 1976 low-budget, tongue-in-cheek action movie, produced by Roger Corman and starring Ron Howard. The tagline for the film: “Ron Howard pops the clutch and tells the world: Eat My Dust!” Howard agreed to star in Eat My Dust in exchange for the chance to star in and direct a subsequent film, Grand Theft Auto (1977). That film was his directorial debut; he went on to direct a great many successful and critically acclaimed movies.
Sounds like the Allman Brothers are doing the background music. –Yeah, in fact that’s Duane Allman on the motorcycle there. [Laughs.] A little ... sorry. Maybe it’s Berry Oakley.
The Allman Brothers Band, consisting of Duane and Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jaimoe, released several blues-rock albums in the early 1970s; the third, titled Live at the Fillmore East, went gold only a few days before Duane Allman died in a motorcycle accident. A year later, a motorcycle accident also killed Oakley.
This is no place for a convertible!
A line from the 1963 film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, spoken by Phil Silvers.
You know, I think Peter Bogdanovich shot this sequence here.
Peter Bogdanovich (1936-2021) was a director known for such films as Mask, Daisy Miller, and The Last Picture Show. He is also an actor who has appeared in The Sopranos and 54, among others.
That's why it's funny. Not.
Though the use of “Not!” as a negating declarative is generally connected to the late-’80s/early-’90s Saturday Night Live sketch “Wayne’s World,” it can be traced even further 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 further back, of course, but that’s the earliest appearance in popular culture I could find.
Suddenly, we’re watching Mannix.
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.
You know, in France Mike Connors is considered a genius. –Mike Connors? –Is Mannix!
See previous note, and above note on Jerry Lewis.
The man who drove down Everest.
The Man Who Skied Down Everest is a 1975 documentary about Japanese skier Yuichiro Miura, who, armed with a parachute, skied down the Lhotse Face of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain. In 2003 Miura, now 70, became the oldest person ever to reach the summit.
I haven’t seen this much action since Herbie Goes to Mexico!
This is a reference to the 1980 film Herbie Goes Bananas, about a lovable VW Bug that helps its owners crack a Mexican counterfeiting ring. It was the fourth movie in the series, which also spawned a TV show.
You know, in France Dean Jones is considered a ...
Dean Jones starred in several of the Herbie movies, as well as the TV series (see previous note). He appeared in many Disney films during the 1960s and 1970s, including That Darn Cat! and The Shaggy D.A.
Hey, guys, it’s Steve McQueen!
Steve McQueen (1930-1980) was a tough-guy actor during the 1960s and 1970s, starring in action films like The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and Bullitt.
Eat a peach, dude!
Eat a Peach was the Allman Brothers Band’s fourth album, recorded before Duane Allman and Berry Oakley’s deaths (see above note) but not released until afterwards.
Gary Busey is back on the bike!
Gary Busey is a wild-man actor who has appeared in more than a hundred movies and TV shows. In 2003 he starred in a reality show for Comedy Central called I’m with Busey. In 1988 he suffered nearly fatal head injuries in a motorcycle accident.
Look out, Herbie!
See note on Herbie, above.
Better luck next time, Kookie! What a mess!
Possibly a reference to the popular character Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson, played by Edd Byrnes, on the ABC private eye series 77 Sunset Strip (1958-1964). Kookie’s careful tending to his ducktail hairstyle led to a 1959 novelty hit song, “Kookie, Kookie—Lend Me Your Comb” (with Connie Stevens), and his general style is considered the progenitor of The Fonz from Happy Days (ABC, 1974-1984), played by Henry Winkler.
Oh, change the channel. I hate An Evening at the Improv.
An Evening at the Improv was a TV series that showcased standup comedians. Filmed at the Improv comedy club in Los Angeles, it aired from 1982-1996 on the A&E Network cable channel.
Winged freak? Wait’ll they get a load of me.
This is part of a line from the 1989 film Batman, spoken by the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson).
Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed. Ready to go, Batman.
This is a line from the pilot episode of the 1966 television series Batman, starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. (Robin is reporting that the Batmobile is ready to move out.)
I’m not pretty, but I get you there.
“It’s ugly, but it gets you there” is an old Volkswagen advertising slogan from 1969.
Now why is Pavarotti holding these guys hostage?
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) was a widely respected and popular operatic tenor who performed regularly at the Metropolitan Opera beginning in 1971. He has also toured widely in concerts and made numerous television appearances.
Everybody run! Pink Lady and Jeff are back!
Pink Lady and Jeff was a notoriously terrible 1980 television series, widely considered one of the worst TV shows of all time. It starred comedian Jeff Altman and Japanese pop musical duo Keiko Masuda and Mitsuyo Nemoto, a.k.a. Pink Lady. Keiko and Mitsuyo spoke barely any English, and the humor frequently slid over the edge into racism, with lines like “You just like me for my sexy round eyes.”
They’re going all the way to make sure McCartney doesn’t bring any more dope into the country. –You mean Linda?
In 1980, British musician Paul McCartney was arrested at Tokyo International Airport for possession of marijuana. His wife Linda and the other members of his band Wings were questioned but not detained. Nine days later he was deported and his 11-date concert tour had to be canceled. Linda McCartney (1941-1998) was Paul's first wife, who joined him to perform with Wings in the '70s. She was often criticized as being talentless, musically. She died after a battle with breast cancer.
It’s amazing what they’re doing with HO scale these days.
HO scale is the standard scale used for model trains, slot-car racers, and other scale-model vehicles. The exact scale ratio is 1:87.1.
Hey, General, where you going? –I’m going to Berlin to personally shoot that paper-hanging son of a bitch!
This is a paraphrase of a famous line from a speech by General George S. Patton (1885-1945). Patton was the commander of the Third Army in World War II; his men helped defend France in the Battle of the Bulge and subdue Germany at the end of the war. He was known as “Old Blood-and-Guts.” The full quotation: “Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to go get the bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped, the quicker we can go home. The shortest way home is through Berlin and Tokyo. And when we get to Berlin, I am personally going to shoot that paper-hanging son-of-a-bitch Hitler just like I'd shoot a snake.”
Saigon. I can’t believe I’m in a model of Saigon.
This is a paraphrase of a line from Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, spoken at the beginning of the film by Martin Sheen: “Saigon. Shit! I’m still only in Saigon.”
Now I sing La Traviata.
La Traviata (1853) is an opera written by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). Considered one of his greatest works, the opera tells the story of a courtesan, Violetta, who falls in love with a young man and promptly dies of tuberculosis.
Chinese fire drill!
The phrase “Chinese fire drill” is used to describe a large number of people rushing about frantically with no clear purpose, accomplishing nothing. It’s also a game played at stoplights. When the car stops, everyone leaves the car, runs around the vehicle, and frequently will sit in a different place before the light turns green, similar to a game of musical chairs. The slang term has been around since World War I, while the game originated around the 1970s.
They’re gonna attack the monster with a Fresnel light? –Yeah, I think it's a Baby Junior.
The Fresnel light is a focusable spotlight with a rippled glass lens called a Fresnel lens. It is named after the lens’s inventor, French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel (1788-1827). “Junior” and “Baby Junior” are two types of smaller lights with Fresnel lenses, usually mounted on a stand, used for stage, film, and television lighting.
Hey, the “ups” man is here. I got some bullets on order. –The brown bus.
Probably a reference to UPS, the package delivery service founded in 1907. Today it is a multibillion-dollar corporation. Their trucks, and their employees’ uniforms, are brown.
Boy, all this and they still can’t get the Comedy Channel.
The Comedy Channel was the original home of MST3K. It was launched in 1989 and, in 1991, merged with its equally struggling competitor, Ha!, and became CTV: The Comedy Network. To avoid legal action from a Canadian broadcaster, the name was changed a few months later to Comedy Central. The Comedy Channel/Comedy Central’s availability was spotty at best in its early years: the MST3K writers and cast had to seek out a local bar in order to watch their own show.
Hoover Dam, at 726 feet, is the tallest concrete arch dam in the United States. It is located on the Colorado River at the border between Arizona and Nevada. It is used for irrigation, flood control, and power generation. The naming of the dam is a story unto itself. It was originally known as Boulder Dam because it was going to be located in Boulder Canyon. The press nevertheless referred to it as Boulder Dam for years, and at a 1930 ceremony a Cabinet member took it upon himself to name it Hoover Dam after Herbert Hoover, which was rather unusual since Hoover was still in office and such honors were generally not granted to sitting presidents. Once Franklin D. Roosevelt became president, his administration once again referred to it as Boulder Dam, since Hoover was not of their political party and many blamed him for worsening the Great Depression. Finally, in 1947, Congress passed legislation formally naming it Hoover Dam.
It's one of those houses at the center of the universe where... – Gravity is all weird?
A reference to "gravity hill" attractions such as the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz, California, the Mystery Hole in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and the Oregon Vortex in Gold Hill, Oregon. Proprietors claim such attractions are some kind of strange gravitational anomaly (with various wild explanations offered), but they're actually just structures built on an incline with interiors that are carefully crafted funhouse-style optical illusions. Visual cues are at odds with the actual slope of the floor, causing disorientation. The attraction actually called the “Center of the Universe” is in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a small circle of concrete inside a circle of bricks in downtown Tulsa. People standing in the center of the circle experience an acoustic anomaly—when they speak, their voice is echoed back much louder. People standing outside the circle, however, can barely hear the person in the center speaking. People speaking on opposite sides of the circle hear one another’s voices greatly distorted. No one is quite sure why this occurs—the top theory involves echoes from a low circular wall surrounding the circle. (Thanks to Paul-Gabriel Wiener for the “gravity hill” reference.)
I wet 'em.
A line from a famous Monty Python sketch titled "The Visitors." A parade of crass characters intrudes during a date and, at one point, a woman (Terry Jones in drag) laughs uproariously and says, "Oooh! I’ve wet 'em." The sketch also features Eric Idle’s character Mr. Cheeky, aka “Mr. Nudge,” from the beloved “Nudge-nudge, wink-wink, say no more, Squire!” sketch.
I’ll be joined by my pals Ben Vereen, Hal Linden, and Anita Gillette.
Ben Vereen is an actor, singer, and dancer who has appeared in numerous stage and screen productions, including Roots, All That Jazz, and Tenspeed and Brown Shoe. Hal Linden is best known for his portrayal of Barney Miller on the TV series of the same name, which ran from 1975-1982. Anita Gillette is a stage and screen actress who has appeared in Bob Roberts and Moonstruck, among others.
An imitation of Shaggy from the animated TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (CBS/ABC, 1969-1978). Shaggy was voiced by Casey Kasem, the well-known syndicated DJ.
I've got to call the theater guild. Or NABET. IATSE.
The National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians is a labor union formed in 1934 as the Association of Technical Employees. In 1994, NABET merged with the Communications Workers of America to become NABET-CWA. It represents 12,000 people. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists & Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories & Canada (yes, that's the official name) is another tech union formed in 1893. It represents 130,000 workers.
A bridge too far? Not for me!
A Bridge Too Far is a 1977 film, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Dirk Bogarde and Robert Redford, about a failed attempt by the Allies during World War II to capture several German bridges.
That monster does not know the meaning of the word "around." It really doesn't.
A callback riff to the Gamera films from the KTMA season.
“Rok-chan!” You don’t have to wear that dress tonight!
See note on “Rok-chan” above.
What, your AA medallion?
In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), members are frequently given medallions to commemorate anniversaries in the group—one year, five years, ten years, and so on.
Uh, if someone could tell Raymond Burr he’s late ...
Raymond Burr (1917-1993) was a burly actor best known for his role as Perry Mason, in the television series of the same name. In 1956 he appeared in the American version of Gojira, a.k.a. Godzilla, as reporter Steve Martin, with his scenes added into the original Japanese version. In 1985 he reprised his role in the Godzilla remake. (Thanks to Aaron for clarifying Burr's role.)
I can’t take it! 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 "calcium gone."
To everything, burn, burn, burn.
A paraphrase of the 1950s Pete Seeger song “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season);” a folk-rock version of the song became a worldwide hit for The Byrds in 1965. Actual lyrics: “To everything—turn, turn, turn/There is a season—turn, turn, turn.” The lyrics are in turn taken from Ecclesiastes 3:1: “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.”
Those are five-dollar models there. That was a Revell he just blew up.
Revell is a plastic model manufacturer. It was founded in 1943 and provided plastics for industrial applications before later getting into the toy biz with HO scale train sets, model airplanes, and more.
He's wearin' Mickey Mouse gloves.
Mickey Mouse is Disney’s most famous character. First introduced in 1928 with the landmark animated short “Steamboat Willie,” Mickey has iconic ears and an irritating high-pitched voice. Incidentally, in that first cartoon, Mickey is missing the gloves; Walt Disney stated they decided to use gloves soon thereafter because they made the mouse look "more human." Mickey is usually depicted with his iconic round ears, red pants, white gloves, yellow shoes, and irritating high-pitched voice. He has been voiced by Walt Disney, Jimmy MacDonald, Wayne Allwine, and Bret Iwan.
Hey, look, it’s Ugly John!
Ugly John was the anesthesiologist in M*A*S*H. He was played by Carl Gottlieb in the feature film and by John Orchard on the television series.
Incoming wounded! Attention all personnel.
This was a frequently repeated line on the television series M*A*S*H, which aired from 1972-1983. It was spoken by the P.A. announcer, who was played at various times by Todd Susman and Sal Viscuso.
I wonder if McLean Stevenson is on that chopper.
McLean Stevenson (1929-1996) played Lt. Col. Henry Blake, the commanding officer of the 4077th, on the television series M*A*S*H from 1972-1975. When the actor decided to leave the show, the writers had Blake’s plane shot down over the Sea of Japan.
I’ve got a date with death.
A Date with Death is a 1959 film starring Gerald Mohr as a hobo who assumes the identity of a dead policeman and goes up against a gang of racketeers in a small desert town.
Hey, he’s doing the Monster Mash! You know, Mash with asterisks ...
“Monster Mash” was a smash hit song in 1962 by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers. Pickett went on to release a few more singles but never again attained the popularity of his first outing. See notes on M*A*S*H, above.
Saturday the 14th—I hate that movie.
Saturday the 14th is a 1981 horror film parody starring Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss.
They’re playing Chinese chicken—or is it Peking duck?
“Playing chicken” is a game popular particularly among young boys. There are a number of variations, but a pretty typical version is for two boys on bikes to ride head-on at each other at full speed. The first one to lose his nerve and swerve to avoid a collision, or “chicken out,” loses the game. Peking duck is a Chinese dish consisting of roasted duck pieces covered in sauce and wrapped in a pancake.
Get him some lithium.
Lithium is a drug used to treat manic-depressive disorder.
Tora tora tora!
Tora! Tora! Tora! is a 1970 film that told the story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II from both the Japanese and American points of view. (“Tora tora tora” was the Japanese signal to launch the attack.)
Monster two; Zeroes zero.
The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was Imperial Japan's most widely produced carrier-based fighter plane during World War II. The Japanese called it "Zero-sen" because the last digit in the Imperial year of its first production (2600) was zero (and "-sen" means "line").
Wow, who’s flying that thing? Henry Kissinger?
Henry Kissinger was the Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was one of the major architects of Nixon’s Vietnam War policy; Kissinger orchestrated the U.S. secret bombing of Cambodia.
Hey, it’s a German air show!
In 1988, at an air force base in Ramstein, West Germany, three Italian jets performing in an air show collided in midair. One of the jets crashed to the ground among a crowd of onlookers, killing 70 people and injuring hundreds more.
Wow, it really looks like a busy mall. –Riverplace.
Riverplace is a shopping mall in Minneapolis.
"Must have been evacuated." Sounds painful.
A very old callback that dates to the earliest of the KTMA episodes. Whenever someone says "evacuated," they say, "Sounds painful."
[Imitating.] Thank you. Thank you very much.
See note on Elvis Presley, above. “Thank you very much” was a phrase Elvis frequently used, usually at the end of a song while applause thundered. He often said it very quickly, as Crow does here, with the words all tumbled together. This, of course, led to it being used in impressions of him for decades.
Godzilla has left the stadium.
See note on “Elvis has left the building,” above.
What’s that? Dad’s trapped? In a coal mine? Down in Dead Rock Canyon?
This is an imitation of the television show Lassie, which aired from 1954-1974. Lassie, the hyperintelligent collie, was constantly hastening to warn her owners that various family members had fallen down wells or been trapped in cave-ins or pinned under tractors. Lassie appears in Show 510, The Painted Hills.
He forgot his semaphore flags.
Semaphore is a system of communicating via hand signals, usually conveyed with flags. It was adopted for maritime use in the 1800s.
Now, my impression of Jack Nicholson at a Burger King.
Jack Nicholson is an actor who has appeared in dozens of films since he got his start in B-movies in the 1960s. His better-known movies include Chinatown, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Shining, and As Good As It Gets. Burger King is a worldwide chain of fast-food restaurants. The fast-food chain Burger King was started as Insta-Burger King in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, there are over 17,700 locations in 100 countries.
I can fly! I can fly! I can’t fly!
“I can fly! I can fly!” is a line from J.M. Barrie’s stage play Peter Pan.
And now, Godzilla will attempt to swim the English Channel. Good show, Watson.
Swimming the English Channel, the 21-mile-wide stretch of water that separates England from France, is one of the premier tests of athletic ability in the world, like climbing Mount Everest. The first man to achieve the crossing was Captain Matthew Webb, in 1875. In 1926 Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the Channel, incidentally setting a speed record that beat the best man’s time by two hours. "Watson" is probably referring to Barry Watson, who swam the Channel in 1964 in 9 hours and 35 minutes, setting a record that stood for twelve years. The current record as of this writing (2017), set in 2012 by Trent Grimsey, is 6 hours and 55 minutes.
Meanwhile, the Tenderloin of San Francisco.
The Tenderloin is widely considered the worst neighborhood in San Francisco, California, the stomping ground of prostitutes, drug dealers, and mentally ill homeless people.
Get me! I paved paradise and put in a parking lot!
"Get me! I'm givin' out wings!" is a line from the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life, spoken by Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender. The 1970 Joni Mitchell song “Big Yellow Taxi” contains the lyrics: “They paved paradise/And put up a parking lot/With a pink hotel, a boutique/And a swinging hot spot.”
Now we know why they're buying all of our property and movie studios.
See above note on Japan bashing.
We’ll eliminate all the No-Pest Strips in Asia if you’ll just stop.
No-Pest Strips are pest-control strips used to kill a wide variety of common pesky insects: flies, roaches, ants, and so forth.
I’m comin’, Beany Boy!
Beany and Cecil were originally puppet characters on the 1949 children’s TV show Time for Beany, the animated Beany and Cecil ran on ABC from 1962-1969; both were produced by Bob Clampett. Beany was the nephew of a sea captain and Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent was his best friend. Joel Hodgson has cited Beany and Cecil as one of the shows from his childhood that he drew upon while creating MST3K.
Meanwhile, on an episode of Then Came the Courtship of Bronson’s Father ...
This is a reference to two television shows. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father was a sitcom that aired from 1969-1972. It starred Bill Bixby as a widower struggling to raise his young son alone. Then Came Bronson aired from 1969-1970; it starred Michael Parks as Jim Bronson, a young man traveling across America.
[Imitating Mrs. Livingston.] Oh, Mr. Eddie's father, I wish I was you. [Imitating Bronson.] –Well, hang in there.
The MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide cites a similar exchange as being from Then Came Bronson (see previous note), saying, “It ran for one year ... Frank Conniff loved it.” Mrs. Livingston (played by Miyoshi Umeki) was the Japanese housekeeper on The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (see previous note). She never addressed her employer by his actual name, instead calling him “Mr. Eddie’s father.”
What, are they in a Roy Lichtenstein exhibit all of a sudden?
Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) was an American artist who was one of the central figures of the Pop art movement of the 1960s. He is best known for his paintings modeled after comic-strip panels, which were painted to imitate even the dots that characterized the cheap color printing process used by comic books.
[Imitating.] Hello, Shoil. –Was that an Oscar Wilde reference? –No, that was Shelley. Laverne and Shelley!
See note on Oscar Wilde, above. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was a British romantic poet, a close associate of Lord Byron and the husband of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein. He drowned at the age of 29 when his boat capsized during a storm. Laverne and Shirley was a TV sitcom that aired from 1976-1983; “Hello, Shoil” is an imitation of wacky neighbor Andrew "Squiggy" Squiggman, played by David Lander.
That’s for Lady Windermere’s Fan!
Lady Windermere’s Fan is a play by Oscar Wilde about a mysterious woman’s efforts to break into London society, shepherded by Lord Windermere, much to the dismay of his jealous wife.
And that’s for a Picture of Dorian Gray!
See note on Picture of Dorian Gray, above.
I’ll harm you!
See note on Joe Besser, above.
And that’s for Saint Joan! Oh, no, that was Shaw.
Saint Joan is a play, first performed in 1923, about the life of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl who led the French armies against the invading English and was burned at the stake for her pains. It was written by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), an Irish playwright, critic, and essayist. Shaw was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for the play, but he refused the honor.
I bet that monster's getting paid scale! –Didn't you do that joke last week? –Oh. I've got the wrong script here.
"Scale" refers to the minimum wage paid to actors for a day's work. In the 1960s, that was around $200. This riff isn't from the previous episode, Show 211, First Spaceship on Venus, but it was used in Show 210, King Dinosaur.
Hey, everybody, Tinker Bell’s alive! Clap your hands, everybody!
A reference to a scene toward the end of J.M. Barrie’s play Peter Pan, in which the audience is asked to clap if they believe in fairies, in order to save the dying Tinker Bell’s life.
Diamonds are a girl’s best ... ooh!
“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” is a song from the 1953 movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, as performed by Marilyn Monroe. Sample lyrics: “A kiss on the hand may be quite continental/But diamonds are a girl's best friend.”
Destroy the Love Boat. Kill Gavin MacLeod.
The Love Boat was a TV romantic comedy that ran from 1977-1986, about a cruise ship on which a succession of washed-up guest stars found love every week. Actor Gavin MacLeod played Captain Merrill Stubing on the show.
And I hate the Exxon Valdez.
On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker carrying 53 million gallons of crude oil from Alaska, ran aground on a reef, spilling nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The captain had been drinking earlier in the day, and the third mate who was on duty when the accident occurred may have been working for as long as 18 hours straight. Roughly 1,300 miles of beach were contaminated, and estimates of wildlife killed by the spill include 250,000 birds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs. Cleanup efforts cost more than $2 billion.
Oh, not Epcot Center! What about Captain Eo?
Epcot (which stands for Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) is a Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida, dedicated to visions of a utopian future. It opened in 1982. Captain Eo is a short film starring Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston. It debuted at Epcot Center in 1986.
There goes Universal.
Universal Studios is a theme park in Orlando, Florida. (There are other locations as well, but given the reference to Epcot Center in the previous note, it seems safe to assume that the Orlando one is meant.) It features various rides and other attractions with movie themes, such as Jurassic Park.
You know, Monster Island and Milwaukee are a thousand miles apart. Monster Island means mutated lizards and bugs four hundred feet tall. Milwaukee means beer. And on Monster Island, they don’t take any crap, and they don’t take American Express.
Old Milwaukee is a beer produced by the Pabst Brewing Company. It was originally made by the once-revered Schlitz Brewing Company. Their ads showed male models in outdoor work clothing pairing the cheap beer with regional luxury foods while a narrator rambled on with something like the above speech. The final line, though, is a paraphrasing of commercials for Visa that ran in the mid-1980s. They aired a series of advertisements touting the fact that many establishments at travel destinations around the world would not accept American Express credit cards, but would take Visa. American Express itself is a financial services company that was founded in 1850.
They’re using an Oscar Mayer wiener whistle to try to contact him.
The Oscar Mayer wiener whistle was a small plastic whistle shaped like a hot dog, with four finger holes to play different notes.
Did he eat Wonder Bread? He’s growing in twelve ways. He’s making the most of his Wonder years.
An old slogan for Wonder Bread boasted that it helped “build strong bodies twelve ways.” The "Wonder Years" phrase was also part of their advertising, and may have inspired the title of the TV series The Wonder Years (ABC, 1988-1993).
Just call me the Orkin man.
The Orkin man is the longtime advertising mascot of the Orkin pest control company.
It’s Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr in From Here to Eternity.
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 film starring Lancaster (1913-1994) as an army sergeant who falls in love with his captain’s wife (Kerr, 1921-2007). The scene in which the couple makes out in the surf on a beach has become iconic, endlessly imitated and parodied.
Rat Patrol. In color.
Rat Patrol was a TV series set in North Africa during World War II, which aired from 1966 to 1968. At the beginning of every episode, the show bragged that it was being broadcast “In Color!”
It’s the Cox Mustang. Comes complete with control line, fuel, engine, blow plug ...
The Cox Mustang is a type of small radio-controlled plane.
Cato, get off of me.
An imitation of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling protagonist of the Pink Panther movies. In order to keep his reflexes sharp, Clouseau had ordered his servant Cato (played by Burt Kwouk) to attack him on a regular basis.
Hawkeye! Trapper! What the Sam Hill are you doing out there?
Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce and “Trapper” John McIntyre were the original protagonists on the television series M*A*S*H. (In the film version they were joined by Augustus “Duke” Forrest.) They were played respectively by Alan Alda and Wayne Rogers in the TV series and by Donald Sutherland and Elliott Gould in the movie.
Get your face in the frame, Pugsley.
Pugsley Addams was the young son in The Addams Family, a TV series that aired from 1964-1966. He was played by Ken Weatherwax. In the 1990s films based on the series the part was played by Jimmy Workman.
A reference to Show 104, Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
He’s got a foreign object!
In professional wrestling, a “foreign object” is an object that is not allowed in the ring, such as a folding chair, brass knuckles, or other potential weapons. For some reason, however, there continues to be an ample supply of folding chairs stored near wrestling rings.
It’s the SS Godzilla, in The Wackiest Monster in the Navy!
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.
It looks like Dumbo gone horribly wrong.
Dumbo is a classic animated Disney film from 1941, about a young elephant whose ears are so large he can use them to fly.
Come on, Jaguar, don't be blue! Gorgon was ugly too!
This is a take on the classic taunt: “Don’t be sad, don’t be blue, Frankenstein was ugly too!” A Gorgon is a female monster from Greek myth. The most notable example would be Medusa, although she had two less famous sisters: Stheno and Euryale. It's possible they meant "Gorgo," which is essentially a 1961 English Godzilla movie, about a sea monster discovered off the Irish coast who wreaks havoc on London. It was given the MST treatment in Show 909.
Guinan is the El Aurian bartender in the Ten Forward lounge on the USS Enterprise, as depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1993) for five of its seven seasons and in two feature films. Portrayed by comedian Whoopi Goldberg, she was wise and enigmatic as well as several centuries old. The character was named after a Prohibition-era bartender, Tex Guinan.
And there, on my forearms, were hooks! It's a little monster joke.
A paraphrasing of the end to a famous campfire tale wherein a hook-handed man terrorizes teens making out in cars. It doesn't work out for him, long-term.
Pattycake, pattycake ...
“Pattycake” (or “Pat-a-Cake”) is one of the oldest known English nursery rhymes, dating back to at least 1698 and is usually accompanied by a clapping game, performed by clapping one's own hands and clapping the hands of the person with whom one is reciting the rhyme. It usually goes:
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man.
Bake me a cake as fast as you can
Roll it, pat it, mark it with a "B"
And put it in the oven for baby and me!
[Sung.] I won’t dance/Don’t ask me.
“I Won’t Dance” is a jazz standard written by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and Otto Harbach for the 1934 London musical Three Sisters. After Three Sisters flopped, a second set of lyrics was written by Dorothy Fields in 1935—this version is the best known and has been recorded by many artists, including Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. Sample lyrics: “I won't dance, don't ask me/I won't dance, Madame, with you/My heart won't let my feet do things that you do.”
I’m Charlton Heston for ConTel.
Charlton Heston (1923-2008) was an actor and political activist who appeared in such movies as The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes. He was a longtime spokesman for the National Rifle Association. ConTel was a telecommunications company that GTE bought in 1991; Heston did an ad for them that ended with the line, “For ConTel, I’m Charlton Heston.” (Thanks to Kallen Kutz for the ConTel reference.)
You will bow down before me, Jet Jaguar. –Do you expect me to talk? –No, Jet Jaguar, I expect you to die.
The first part of this riff is a paraphrase of a line from Superman II (1980): “You will bow down before me, Jor-El.” The second part is a paraphrase of a famous exchange from the James Bond movie Goldfinger (1964). The relevant dialogue:
Bond: Do you expect me to talk?
Goldfinger: No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die. (Thanks to Brian O'Connell for pointing out the Superman reference.)
Very good, guys. Kind of a James Bond thing.
James Bond, code named 007, is a martini-swilling, lady-bedding, British super-spy created in 1953 by author Ian Fleming. He appears in fourteen of Fleming's novels and in twenty-nine books written by other people after Fleming's death. (There have even been "Young Bond" books and animated series). Most famously, Bond has appeared in twenty-six films, beginning with 1962's Dr. No. There have also been many video games, comic strips, comic books, and more with the character.
I need a ComfoRest.
ComfoRest was a brand of adjustable mattresses made by a now closed Minneapolis-based company. There is a line of traditional mattresses called Comforest that is made by another manufacturer. (Thanks to Bill Stiteler for this reference.)
Well, it’s about time, Mr. Mark Spitz. Have a nice swim?
Mark Spitz is considered the fastest swimmer of all time. In 1972, he won seven gold medals at the Munich Olympics, an achievement that was not surpassed until swimmer Michael Phelps won eight gold medals in 2008. Spitz set world records in all seven events in which he won gold medals. Afterwards he went on to a lucrative, if brief, endorsement career.
I have come here to chew sushi and kick butt. And I’m all out of sushi.
This is a paraphrase of a line from the 1988 horror flick They Live, starring “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs, 1954-2015). The actual line: “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass—and I’m all out of bubble gum.”
I know what you’re thinking: Do I fire flames six hundred feet or only five?
This is a paraphrase of the famous line from the 1971 film Dirty Harry, starring Clint Eastwood. The full line: “I know what you’re thinking: Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I’ve kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
I’ll tell you one thing right now—you’re never gonna find me in a Sunn Classic picture.
Sunn Classic Pictures was a film production company that was owned by the Schick Razor Company. They were known for movies about paranormal phenomena, such as In Search of Noah’s Ark. They also produced Hangar 18, a 1980 film that was riffed in Show K19.
Listen, you don’t want to die, and I don’t want to have to kill you.
The closest I could find to this line is a quotation from the 1988 film Silverado: “Now, I don’t want to kill you, and you don’t want to be dead.”
You know, this kind of reminds me of when we beat up Rodan.
Rodan is a 1956 Japanese monster flick about a mysterious flying creature, kind of like a giant pterodactyl, that is discovered underground and promptly begins to trash Tokyo. Rodan later appeared in several other Godzilla films.
Which one of those monsters is playing the Jew’s harp?
A Jew’s harp is a small instrument that is played by holding it between the teeth and plucking it with a finger. It has been around since at least the 16th century. Why it is called a “Jew’s” harp is unclear.
I like you. I think I’ll kill you first.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando. The entire exchange:
Sully: Have a nice trip, man. Take care. Oh, here. Have some beers in Val Verde, Matrix. It’ll give everyone a little more time with your daughter.
Matrix: You’re a funny man, Sully. I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.
The joy buzzer is a practical joke tool that aspiring pranksters hide in their palms before shaking hands with a victim. The coiled spring inside tickles their palm and surprises them. The joy buzzer was invented by practical jokesmith Soren Sorensen Adams in 1928. A frequent misconception is that the joy buzzer actually uses an electric shock, but it doesn’t.
The Marines are here. –Tell it to the Marines.
“Tell it to the Marines” is an idiom implying that the speaker does not believe what he or she has just been told. It was originally referring to Britain’s Royal Marines, and the actual phrase was along the lines of “Tell it to the Marines because the Sailors won’t believe you.” The first published use of the phrase was in the 1804 novel The Post Captain; or, the Wooden Walls Well Manned; Comprehending a View of Naval Society and Manners.
Where is Jet Jaguar these days? –Well, he's a used car salesman. Jaguar Olds Town.
Jaguar is a brand of British luxury and racing vehicles. Founded as Swallow Sidecar in 1922, Jaguar is owned today by Indian carmaker Tata. Oldsmobile (abbreviated as "Olds") was an auto manufacturer founded by Ransom Olds in 1897. The brand was sold to General Motors in 1908. Due to shortfalls in sales and profitability, GM phased out the Oldsmobile brand, with the final vehicle being assembled in 2004. Given the wrestling theme in these riffs, this could be a reference to retired wrestler Greg Gagne, who managed a car dealership in Minnesota for some years in the 1980s and '90s.
He's got a tree! He's got a tree! That's not the Godzilla we know! He's fighting dirty!
More wrestling commentator banter, especially when a "good guy" pulls a "heel" turn and employs some nasty tricks. Also, Godzilla may have learned this trick from King Kong four years earlier in 1962's King Kong vs. Godzilla, when the giant ape hilariously gagged the lizard with a tree.
Hurts, don’t it?
According to Mike Nelson, the frequently used riff “Hurts, don’t it? Tell your friends” is a reference to a scene in the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie (and MST3K writer’s room favorite) Road House. Mike calls it “Casablanca-style-quoting,” meaning it sounded right, but not actually word-for-word from the movie. In Road House, the character Wade kicks a bad guy, then says “Goddamn, that hurts, doesn’t it?” Mike describes the “Tell your friends” line as a more “generic cliché.”
[British accent.] I’ve had worse! Come back! Fight like a man!
This is a paraphrase of a couple of lines from the 1974 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, from the scene in which King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) faces off against the mysterious Black Knight (John Cleese). The first exchange:
Arthur: Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
Black Knight: ‘Tis but a scratch.
Arthur: A scratch? Your arm’s off!
Black Knight: No it isn’t.
Arthur: Well, what’s that, then?
Black Knight: I’ve had worse.
The second line, at the end of the scene:
Black Knight: Oh, oh, I see, running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what’s coming to you! I’ll bite your legs off!
A slang term for the machine that injects jam, jelly, cream, etc., into doughnuts.
This one? This one’s for Rocky V. I haven’t seen it, but I hear it really sucks.
Rocky V, the 1990 installment in the series starring Sylvester Stallone (but, sadly, not the last), has Rocky retired from the ring after the damage done to him by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. Financially strapped, he agrees to coach an up-and-coming young fighter named Tommy. Dissatisfied with this film’s quality and reception, star Sylvester Stallone wrote and directed a finale titled Rocky Balboa. It was released in 2006 to much better acclaim.
Come back! I’ll bite your legs off!
See previous note on Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
You know, it’s quiet. Too quiet.
The origin of this oft-quoted phrase goes back to 1920 and French artist Marcel Duchamp's writings about Prohibition America: "One doesn't drink here anymore and it's quiet, too quiet."
You know, those Chrysler Buildings really pack a wallop.
See note on Chrysler Building, above.
I am going to give you such a pinch!
See above note on Joe Besser; this was another of his famous lines as Oswald. Besser also used it in his short stint as Curly Joe in sixteen of Columbia’s Three Stooges shorts, beginning in 1956.
Hey, I’m just crazy enough to do it.
The earliest occurrence of this phrase that I was able to find was in the 1974 Mel Brooks film Blazing Saddles, in the scene where Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage:
Sheriff Bart: Hold it. The next man makes a move, the n----r gets it.
Olson Johnson: Hold it, men. He’s not bluffing.
Dr. Samuel Johnson: Listen to him, men. He’s just crazy enough to do it.
Fight! Fight! You never walked away from anything in your life! Now live! Live, damn it!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1989 movie The Abyss, starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The actual line, spoken by Harris as he’s trying to resuscitate the drowned Mastrantonio: “God damn it, you bitch! You never backed away from anything in your life! Now fight! Fight! Fiiiight!”
Game over, man! Game over! Guess I’ll see you on the other side, dude!
This is a paraphrase of a line from the 1986 film Aliens, spoken by Bill Paxton: “That’s it, man, game over, man, it’s game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?”
You know, one day Johnny Cash'll write a song about this. Oh, the Ring of ...? Oh, yeah. –Yeah. –That's what I thought.
Johnny Cash (1932-2003) was a country-western singer known for his black garb and his sympathy for men in prison, for whom he frequently performed.
It's all hot and it hurts. ..
A partial line from an old commercial for the antiseptic/anaesthetic first aid spray Bactine. In the ad, a little boy with an owie says, “It’s all hot and it hurts and stuff.” Bactine is sold by Wellspring Pharmaceuticals and was introduced in 1950.
Oh, the Ring of ...? Oh, yeah. –Yeah. –That's what I thought.
“Ring of Fire” is a song written by June Carter Cash and Merle Kilgore that was recorded by Johnny Cash in 1963 and became one of his signature songs.
Don’t look at the Ark, Marion! Don’t look at the Ark! Don’t look at it, whatever you do!
This is a paraphrase of a line from the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark: “Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it no matter what happens.”
Listen, next time you say go to Bolivia, we go to Bolivia.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman: “Kid, the next time I say 'Let’s go someplace like Bolivia,’ let’s go someplace like Bolivia!”
So, you wanna play with fire, huh?
Possibly a reference to a line on the television series Twin Peaks: “You want to play with fire, little boy?”
Stop the noise! Stop the noise! It’s a madhouse!
“It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!” is a line from the 1968 Charlton Heston film Planet of the Apes.
What, have we cut to Spartacus all of a sudden?
Spartacus was a 1960 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It starred Kirk Douglas as the slave who leads a revolt against the Roman Empire. In 1991 a restored version was released that made explicit the previously subliminal homoerotic relationship between Marcus Licinius Crassus, played by Laurence Olivier, and Antoninus, played by Tony Curtis.
"Bingo," meaning "correct," derives from the game in which spaces are covered up until a predetermined pattern is achieved. The winner shouts "bingo" to indicate victory.
No, no, no, no, no. Don't pass out on me now. No, no, no.
A line from the 1971 film Dirty Harry, spoken by the killer Scorpio. (Thanks to Wilson Richardson for this reference.)
Our monsters are flame-broiled, not fried, folks.
Burger King, a fast-food chain that is the chief rival to McDonald’s, brags that its burgers are flame-broiled rather than fried like Mickey D’s.
Hey, how about a nice Hawaiian punch? –Sure.
“How about a nice Hawaiian Punch?” is an advertising slogan for the fruit drink dating back to the mid-1960s. The response of "Sure" references long-running ads that showed the mascot, Punchy, asking a tourist named Opie the question, to which he would respond, "Sure," and then get slugged with flavor, one supposes.
Here’s a little something I call the Linda Blair.
Linda Blair got her start as a child actress, with her most famous role being the little demon-possessed girl who spins her head around and vomits pea soup in the 1973 film The Exorcist. She went on to act in a number of B-movies.
I can’t believe it, Wally Karbo.
Wally Karbo (1915-1993) was a wrestling promoter with the American Wrestling Association back in the 1960s; he worked with Verne Gagne, promoting matches in Minneapolis and nearby towns. (NOTE: Thanks to Frank Koenen for correcting my spelling of Wally's last name.)
I can’t believe they’re playing the Elly May goes to the cement pond music in the background.
Elly May was the daughter on the television series The Beverly Hillbillies, which aired from 1962-1971. She was played by actress Donna Douglas. The “cement pond” was the Clampetts’ term for the swimming pool in their back yard.
“Mrs. Wiggins” was the name of the incompetent secretary played by Carol Burnett in a recurring series of sketches on The Carol Burnett Show, which aired from 1967-1978.
No Japanese actors in rubber suits were harmed in the making of this film.
A paraphrase of the famous credit line "No animals were harmed in the making of this film." The American Humane Association holds a copyright on that phrase. The practice of the AHA evaluating films for their treatment of animals dates back to the 1939 film Jesse James, in which a horse was blindfolded and ridden off a cliff to its death.
My soul is soaring. You know, in a hundred years I just might get to like you. –Isn’t that from Killdozer?
Yes, it is. Killdozer is a 1974 TV movie about a construction crew building an airstrip during World War II who uncover an ancient evil spirit, which promptly takes control of their heavy equipment and begins to wreak havoc. Clint Walker stars, and is told by his buddy Dennis in the movie: “You know, in about a hundred years, I might get to like you.” Also, in the next episode, Show 213, Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, the following discussion takes place:
Servo: And you know, it’s a much circulated fallacy that in the movie Killdozer, Clint Walker said, “You know, in a hundred years I may just get to like you.”
Joel: That’s right, I’ve heard that one. And also, it’s an often circulated rumor that Brian Keith in With Six You Get Eggroll said, “I’ve got a mad posh for hats,” but he never did.
Well, he’s probably going to go home and buy some Bobby Short albums.
Bobby Short (1924-2005) was a cabaret performer who specialized in singing Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and other pre-rock-era composers. He performed regularly at the Cafe Carlyle in New York City for more than 35 years, in addition to his work in television and film.
Shane! Come back, Shane!
Shane is a 1953 Western starring Alan Ladd as a retired gunfighter who unwillingly gets drawn into a range war. The line “Shane! Come back, Shane!” is uttered by little Joey as Shane rides off at the end of the film.
Sounds like Jerry Lewis is considered a genius in Japan, too.
See note on Jerry Lewis, above.