601: Girls Town
by Wyn Hilty
Tonight on Viper.
Viper was a short-lived 1994 TV series about a high-tech crime-fighting vehicle known as the Viper, and the two men who use it to wage a war against crime. It was set in the year 2000.
Jaguar dealers just reek of class.
Jaguars are a brand of luxury cars.
Looks like John Deere has really retooled the combine.
John Deere is a heavy-equipment manufacturing company that makes farm machinery, among other things. It was founded in the 19th century by John Deere himself, who achieved fame by inventing the first steel plow, which was far superior to the iron plows then in wide use.
Ahhh, he’s dating a kabuki dancer.
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.
On the shores of Gitche Gumee.
A paraphrase of the famous line from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha. Actual lines: “By the shores of Gitche Gumee/By the shining Big-Sea-Water/Stood the wigwam of Nokomis/Daughter of the Moon …”
Heidi in The Most Dangerous Game.
Heidi is a children’s book by Johanna Spyri, first published in 1880, that tells the story of a young girl sent to live with her crotchety grandfather in his home in the Swiss Alps. She learns to love her new home, and he learns to love her, before they are cruelly torn apart and Heidi is sent back to languish in the big city. Fortunately everything turns out happily in the end. The Most Dangerous Game is a 1932 film starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray as shipwrecked passengers on a mysterious island whose owner hunts humans for sport.
Wilma Flintstone is the attractive wife of the lumpish Fred Flintstone on the animated TV series The Flintstones, which first aired in 1960 and has been around in various forms ever since.
Boy, that Kennedy compound.
In 1991, William Kennedy Smith, Senator Ted Kennedy’s nephew, was accused of raping a woman he met at a nightclub; he was ultimately acquitted. The alleged assault took place at the Kennedy estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Gee, it was easier in From Here to Eternity.
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 film starring Burt Lancaster as an army sergeant who falls in love with his captain’s wife (Deborah Kerr). The scene in which the couple makes out in the surf on a beach has become iconic, endlessly imitated and parodied.
A weasel ripped my dress! Rizz!
Weasels Ripped My Flesh is a 1970 album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. The cover art for the album shows an illustration of a man's face being shredded by a weasel while two word balloons issue from him: one says the title of the album, and the other says "RZZZZZ!"
Aaaaaaah! Hey, look, a morel. Aaaaaah!
A morel is a type of mushroom.
Breakdancing is a dance style that developed in the mid-1970s, primarily among Black and Puerto Rican urban youth. There are many variations, but it generally involves a fair amount of athleticism, acrobatics, balance, and strength. On city sidewalks or basketball courts, impromptu breakdancing competitions were celebrated as an alternative to gang violence, but that may have been less a reality than wishful thinking on the part of white America.
I’ve got to catch up with the Von Trapps.
The Von Trapps were the singing family portrayed in the musical The Sound of Music. At the end of the musical (spoiler alert), the family travels across the mountains into Switzerland to escape the Nazis.
Scooby-dooby-dooby … what’s going on? ... dooby-doo …
Scatting, or scat singing, is when a vocalist strings together nonsense syllables or wordless phrases, essentially “taking a solo” with their voice, improvising melodies and rhythms on the fly, without being restricted by actual words or rhymes. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and, yes, Mel Torme are considered masters of the form. Frank Sinatra … not so much, as evidenced by his often-parodied “doo-be-doo-be-doo” run of scat singing at the end of his massively popular 1966 recording of “Strangers in the Night,” which this riff is likely skewering as well.
“Hey, Freddy, where are you going?” Scarborough Fair.
“Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English ballad, with origins that may go as far back as 1650, about a young man’s longing for a girl in the town of Scarborough, in Yorkshire County, in Northern England. An adaptation by American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel appeared on their 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, then became a hit single in 1968 after it was used in the film The Graduate. Sample lyrics: “Are you going to Scarborough Fair?/Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme/Remember me to one who lives there/She once was a true love of mine.”
Girls Town Boys Club welcomes you to Girls Town.
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America is an organization that provides a safe place for kids to have fun after school instead of going out on the streets and getting in trouble. It was founded in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut.
Bet they’re all on the same cycle in Girls Town.
Women living in close quarters, as in a dormitory, will gradually synchronize their menstrual cycles until they are all ovulating and menstruating at the same time. The phenomenon was first studied in 1971 and has been confirmed by numerous studies since then.
And Billy Chapin!
A Father Knows Best reference. On that show, the three children were played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin; the Brains most likely either got the names of the other actors confused or simply misspoke. (Thanks to Mike in Portland for this reference.)
You know, there hasn’t been a cast like this since Judgment at Nuremberg.
Judgment at Nuremberg is a 1961 film about the trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II. The cast included Spencer Tracy, Burt Lancaster, and Marlene Dietrich, among others.
Oh, with Jim Mitchum you can even skip a day.
A variation on the classic ad slogan for Mitchum brand deodorant: “So effective you can skip a day.”
Hey, Dick Contino! Oh, boy.
Dick Contino (1930-2017), who plays Stan in Girls Town, is familiar to MSTies as the star of Show 307, Daddy-O.
With Fatty Arbuckle Jr., Larry Fine Jr., and Sammy Davis Jr. Jr.
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (1887-1933) was one of the great comedians of the silent film era. In 1921, at the height of his career, he was charged with murdering a young starlet named Virginia Rappe. Although he was ultimately acquitted, the scandal destroyed his career. Larry Fine (1902-1975) was one of the Three Stooges. He joined the team in 1925, when original member Shemp left the comedy trio. Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990) was a Vegas staple and a member of Hollywood’s Rat Pack.
Why does it hurt when I P and Q?
A reference to the Frank Zappa song "Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?" (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for this reference.)
Dan Rostenkowski goes for a drive.
Dan Rostenkowski (1928-2010) served in Congress from 1959-1995 and was the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in the 1980s, where he helped shape tax legislation. In 1986 he was arrested for driving under the influence near his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Congressman, be careful … Congressman, stay on the road … Congressman …
A variation on the classic standup routine by comedian Bob Newhart, in which he plays a stressed-out driving instructor.
[Sung.] Rollercoaster …
A line from the 1975 song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players. Sample lyrics: “Rollercoaster of love/Oh yeah it's rollercoaster time/Lovin' you is really wild/Oh it’s just a love rollercoaster/Step right up and get your tickets.”
Bob Marley (1945-1981) was a Jamaican singer-songwriter whose brand of rock-influenced reggae became famous around the world. He also played a prominent political role in his native country, working for peace among the warring factions there.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was a Spanish painter and one of the leaders of the surrealist movement. His flamboyant personal eccentricity sometimes pushed his extremely well-painted works out of the spotlight.
How would you like it if somebody picked your apples?
A reference to the talking apple tree’s line in The Wizard of Oz (1939): “How would you like it if someone came along and picked something off of you?”
“Honk-honk.” [Sung.] State Farm Insurance …
State Farm is an insurance company offering homeowners, auto, life, and other types of insurance. In the 1960s, the company used a jingle in its ads in which a car horn honked three times to signify the three kinds of insurance it offered: auto, life, and fire.
He’s like a youthful Jabba the Hutt.
Jabba the Hutt is a character from the Star Wars trilogy of films by George Lucas. A large, sluglike creature, Jabba was a kingpin of crime with a hefty grudge against one Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford). Although he is mentioned in the first two films of the trilogy, he appears only in the third, Return of the Jedi. (He also makes a brief appearance in The Phantom Menace and appears in a restored, deleted scene in the expanded version of A New Hope.)
Shut up, Iris. I tell you, shut up.
A reference to Show 415, The Beatniks.
And it’s the Terry-Thomas gang.
Terry-Thomas (1911-1990) was a British comedian who appeared in a string of movies during the 1950s, usually playing a high-class cad.
William Jefferson Clinton was the forty-second president of the United States. While his terms in office were marked by unprecedented prosperity, they were also dogged by scandal, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives over the Monica Lewinsky affair.
"Ha ha ha!" Ho ho ho! —And a couple of tra-la-las!
The opening lines to the song "The Merry Old Land of Oz," from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. Sample lyrics: "Ha ha ha/Ho ho ho/And a couple of tra-la-las/That's how we laugh the day away/In the merry old land of Oz." (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
It’s Orange Crush and I’m a diabetic!
Orange Crush is a brand of orange-flavored soda pop introduced in the early 20th century and enjoying continued popularity ever since.
Don’t worry, honey, the state troopers won’t tell anybody.
According to a woman named Paula Jones, in 1991, when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, she was summoned to his hotel room by a state trooper, where Clinton made sexual advances toward her. Jones filed a lawsuit against Clinton but it was thrown out in 1998.
Yes, it’s teenage angst, with Les Brown and his Band of Renown.
Les Brown and His Band of Renown are a swing band that have been performing for more than 70 years. They started out under Les Brown Sr. (1912-2001); after his death, the band continued under the direction of his son, Les Brown Jr. They are a regular sight in the resort town of Branson, Missouri.
Fight choreography by Jimmy Finlayson.
James Finlayson (1887-1953) was a bald, mustachioed comedian known for his double take followed by a slow burn, seen most famously in a series of Laurel & Hardy shorts. He appeared in nearly 200 films during his career.
Hey, her Dockers shrunk.
Dockers is a line of casual khaki slacks—largely for men, although there is a women’s line as well—manufactured by Levi’s.
Bridge on the River Wow.
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 film about British prisoners of war during World War II who are forced to build a bridge for their Japanese captors.
And down goes Blaze!
A reference to one of the regulars on the TV show American Gladiators, which aired from 1989-1997. "Blaze" was actually named Sha-Ri Pendleton and appeared on the program from 1989-1992. (Thanks to Ray Frost for this reference.)
C’mon, ever do it with a Rhodes scholar? Come on, baby.
Bill Clinton was a Rhodes scholar, an international scholarship fund that chooses just 32 students a year for a two-year course of study at Oxford University in England.
It’s the battle of the Laura Petries!
Laura Petrie was the wife of Rob Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, a sitcom that ran from 1961-1966. The part was played by Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017). She was known for her flashy capri pants, which caused quite a storm of controversy when they first made an appearance.
There can be only one.
An impression of Mary Tyler Moore (see previous note). The line “There can be only one” is from the 1986 film Highlander.
[Sung.] Life Savers, a part of living …
This is an advertising jingle for Life Savers hard candy, which aired in the 1970s.
This is why there’s no alcohol at Euro Disney.
When Euro Disney opened outside Paris, it banned alcohol from the park, in accordance with the rules at other Disney resorts. However, it caused a stink in Europe, where attitudes toward alcohol are less puritanical than they are in the United States. Since then, Euro Disney has added “zones” where alcohol is permitted.
Hey, Hillary who, baby?
Bill Clinton’s wife, a politician in her own right, is named Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Whoa, now she’s Stacey Koon.
Stacey Koon was one of the four LA police officers who assaulted motorist Rodney King in 1991, a beating that was tape-recorded by a bystander and that shocked the nation. His acquittal by a jury of Simi Valley residents touched off the Los Angeles riots of 1992. The officers were then brought up on federal charges of violating King’s civil rights and were convicted. Koon was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Nick Mancuso is Edsel.
Nick Mancuso is an actor who has appeared in dozens of films and television series. He starred in the short-lived TV series Stingray in 1985, playing Ray, a mysterious man who dresses in black, drives a Stingray, and helps people with their personal problems. The Edsel was a line of cars introduced in the late 1950s by Ford. They are generally considered to be a marketing disaster, selling far fewer cars than was anticipated and being taken off the market within a few years.
Girls Town. –Who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters is a 1984 film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as ghost-fighting entrepreneurs. The movie’s theme song featured the repeated musical question “Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!”
You grab the Eucharist. I’ll wait here.
In most Christian churches, the Eucharist is a sacrament, meant to represent the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Eucharist can mean the rite itself, which involves consuming bread and wine, or it can mean the bread (or crackers) or wine (or grape juice) used in the rite.
From the 1963 hit song "Dominique" by Belgian nun Jeanine Deckers, a.k.a. the Singing Nun. Sample lyrics: "Dominique-nique-nique/I will tell of Dominique/His goodness to acclaim ..." (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
I did it my way.
A line from the song “My Way,” written by Paul Anka and performed most famously by Frank Sinatra. Sample lyrics: “I’ve lived a life that’s full/I’ve traveled each and ev’ry highway/And more, much more than this/I did it my way.” (Thanks to Brian Dermody for pointing out the Paul Anka reference.)
Over there, it’s Major Barbara.
Major Barbara is a play by George Bernard Shaw about a young, idealistic woman who belongs to the Salvation Army, partly in protest against her wealthy industrialist father. It was made into a film in 1941.
It’s Clifford Irving’s.
Clifford Irving is a writer who, in 1971, claimed he had permission to write an authorized biography of reclusive tycoon Howard Hughes and brandished tapes and documents to prove it. In 1972, when it came to light that Hughes had not given his permission and the documents were forgeries, Irving was sent to prison for fraud.
Let’s get you back to Letterman’s house.
Over the years, David Letterman was dogged by a persistent stalker named Margaret Ray who repeatedly broke into his house, claiming that she was his wife and the mother of his (nonexistent) child. In 1998 she committed suicide by kneeling in front of an oncoming train.
Okay, it was Snoop Doggy Dogg.
Snoop Doggy Dogg was an early stage name for rapper Cardozar Calvin Broadus, Jr.—he later changed it to Snoop Dogg, then to Snoop Lion during a brief flirtation with Jamaican reggae and Rastafarianism, then back to Snoop Dogg. He has had numerous problems with women over the years, ranging from using nude photos without permission to allegations of sexual assault.
Make him promise not to sing “She’s Having My Baby.”
“(You’re) Having My Baby” is one of Paul Anka’s signature songs; a duet with female singer Odia Coates, it was a number-one hit in 1974. Sample lyrics: “Havin' my baby/What a lovely way of sayin'/How much you love me/Havin' my baby/What a lovely way of sayin'/What you're thinkin' of me.” It appears to be roundly hated, judging from the comments I found online.
Do you know “White Light, White Heat”?
“White Light, White Heat” is a song by the Velvet Underground. Sample lyrics: “White light, White light goin' messin' up my mind/White light, and don't you know its gonna make me go blind/White heat, aww white heat it tickle me down to my toes/White light, ooo have mercy white light have it goodness knows.”
I’m gonna kill Eisenhower to prove my love for him!
Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower (1890-1969) was the thirty-fourth president of the United States and the supreme commander of Allied forces in World War II. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot by a young man named John Hinckley Jr., who claimed he did it in order to impress actress Jodie Foster, whom he was obsessed with. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a mental institution. In 2016 Hinckley was granted a closesly monitored release.
An imitation of David White as Larry Tate, Darrin Stephens’ neurotic boss on the TV series Bewitched, which aired from 1964-1972.
Active in Kiwanis.
Kiwanis International is a service organization dedicated to meeting the needs of children.
“I’m gonna keep this girl in jail if I have to go to the governor.” And J.J.
The Governor and J.J. was a TV sitcom about the governor of a Midwestern state and his vivacious daughter. It aired from 1969-1972.
Meanwhile, at Monticello …
Monticello is the estate of founding father Thomas Jefferson. The main house is a fine example of the neoclassical style. He somewhat obsessively built and rebuilt his home over the course of forty or so years.
Stately Girls Town …
On the campy TV series Batman, Bruce Wayne’s mansion was always referred to as “stately Wayne Manor.”
Hayley Mills, Hayley Mills, Hayley Mills, and Hayley Mills with Hayley Mills in …
Hayley Mills appeared in a long string of films for Disney in the 1960s. Of these, the best known is The Parent Trap (1961), in which Mills played a dual role as twins scheming to reunite their divorced parents.
[Sung.] Gigantor …
See note on "Gigantor," above.
Yes, it’s a tribute to British bombshell Diana Dors.
Diana Dors (1931-1984) was a blond actress in England in the 1950s. She had a number of roles in dreadful films and in her later years became quite stout. Her death in 1984 brought an outpouring of affection that had been notably lacking in her lifetime.
Bless me, Peter O’Toole.
Peter O’Toole (1932-2013) was a highly talented actor and a leading man in films for many years. In the 1972 film The Ruling Class, he played a paranoid schizophrenic British earl who thinks he is Jesus Christ. (Thanks to Michael Grutchfield for the Ruling Class reference.)
Some guy. He’s supposed to be good for you.
A riff on the classic “Hey, Mikey!” TV commercial for Life cereal, which first aired in 1972 and ran for 12 years thereafter, becoming one of the longest-running commercials ever. The ad begins with two boys—who eventually convince younger kid Mikey to try Life cereal—staring down a bowl of the stuff and saying:
“Some cereal. It’s supposed to be good for you ...”
“The patron saint of hopeless causes.” He was with the Mariners.
The Seattle Mariners are a professional baseball team in the American League, based in Seattle, Washington. During the 1970s and 1980s the team racked up a dismal record, although in the 1990s and 2000s they started to recover.
“I stopped believing in Santa Claus a long time ago.” No, Lupita.
A reference to Show 521, Santa Claus.
“Think of him as a microphone.” Or radar!
A reference to Show 520, Radar Secret Service.
She’s dressed like Minnie Mouse, only many times hotter.
Minnie Mouse was Mickey Mouse’s love interest in the series of animated shorts produced by Disney. She first appeared in 1928.
And Father Fabio.
Fabio Lanzoni, usually known just as Fabio, is a male model known for his flowing blond locks and muscular physique. He became famous posing for a series of romance novel covers in the 1980s and '90s and went on to appear in movies and TV shows, usually playing himself.
Oh, and Benny Hill comes over and chases us around now and then.
A reference to skit comedy show The Benny Hill Show, which ran on British television for 20 years, beginning in 1969. The series was characterized by risqué humor of the burlesque-show variety, high-speed chases set to bouncy music, and lots of curvaceous women in skimpy bikinis being pursued by horny men.
Romulans were one of the villainous races on the original Star Trek TV series, which aired from 1966-1969. They closely resembled Vulcans, with their pointed ears and slanted eyebrows.
Hath not a chick eyes?
A reference to Shylock’s famous speech in the Williams Shakespeare play The Merchant of Venice: “Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is?”
“The door, Flo.” Loved you in Grapes of Wrath.
The Grapes of Wrath is a novel by John Steinbeck set in the Dust Bowl era, about a poor family’s pilgrimage to California to try to find a better life. It was made into a movie in 1940.
Walker, Texas Ranger!
Walker, Texas Ranger was a television series that aired from 1993-2001. It starred martial artist Chuck Norris as Cordell Walker, a Texas lawman who fought crime with his partner, Jimmy Trivette. (Thanks to Erik Topp for pointing out this reference.)
Fraus, Colonel Klink wants to see you all out front!
Colonel Wilhelm Klink was the inept commander of the German prison camp in the television series Hogan’s Heroes, which aired from 1965-1971. The part was played by Werner Klemperer.
“Just come to me.” [Sung.] I’ll be there …
A riff on the song “I’ll Be There,” by the Jackson 5. Sample lyrics: “I'll be there to protect you (yeah baby)/With unselfish love that respects you/Just call my name, I'll be there (I'll be there).” (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for this reference.)
But first I want Joe Frazier.
“I want Joe Frazier!” is what Muhammad Ali famously screamed after one of his fights. The two fought in 1975 in Manila (the “Thrilla in Manila,” as the fight was dubbed). Ali won on a technical knockout after fourteen rounds.
I’m pregnant with Paul Anka’s child, you know …
See note on "Having My Baby," above.
Mark Eden’s greatest triumph.
The Mark Eden bust developer was a gizmo sold by the Mark Eden Company, widely advertised in women's magazines and tabloids durings the 1960s and 1970s, that promised to give women a dramatically fuller bustline. The U.S. Postal Service disagreed, and starting in 1965 it repeatedly went after the company for mail fraud. The company won several rounds, but its founder was finally indicted on eleven counts of mail fraud in 1981, and the bust developer was no more. (Thanks to R. Harrison for this reference.)
Well, Paul Anka and I pulled off the Brinks job together.
Probably refers to the great Brinks robbery of January 17, 1950, in which a group of armed men robbed the Brinks building in Boston, getting away with $1.2 million in cash and another $1.5 million in checks, money orders, etc. All nine robbers were caught and sentenced to prison, but most of the loot was never recovered.
Careful—Greg Morris is in there.
Greg Morris (1933-1996) was an actor best known for his portrayal of technical expert Barney Collier on Mission: Impossible, which aired from 1966-1973.
"Not wonderful. Crazy, cool, fantabulous." [Sung.] Night for a moondance …
A line from the Van Morrison song “Moondance.” Sample lyrics: “Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance/With the stars up above in your eyes/A fantabulous night to make romance/'neath the color of October skies.”
Stupid recessed filter. No taste!
Parliament cigarettes, a Philip Morris brand, were introduced in 1931. One of the first brands of filtered cigarettes, Parliaments were distinctive for their recessed filter, which they boasted would prevent tar from making contact with the smoker’s lips.
Van Doren meets Van Damme in Death Warrant.
Death Warrant is a 1990 film starring Belgian martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme as a policeman investigating murders in a jail.
She kind of looks like Robespierre, what with the robe and all.
Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794) was one of the leaders of the French Revolution. He helped lead France during the period known as the Terror, when thousands of people were executed for allegedly plotting against the revolution. Eventually he fell from power and was himself executed by guillotine.
Mamie sabotages the sisters’ seder by planting multiple afikomen.
A seder is the communal meal enjoyed by Jews and some Christians during the holiday of Passover. The afikomen is a piece of unleavened bread hidden somewhere in the house for the children to find.
Oh, hello dah-ling …
An imitation of Hungarian socialite, actress, and serial monogamist (grand total: nine husbands) Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917-2016). Not as well known for her acting as her sister Eva (1919-1995) (Green Acres), Zsa Zsa was more likely to turn up on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson or in a guest role on The Love Boat.
Randy Breuer! That’s who she looks like!
Randy Breuer played professional basketball for the Minnesota Timberwolves for a few years in the early 1990s.
Ah, rock ‘em sock ‘em nun.
Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots by Marx has been a popular kids' game since 1964. Two plastic robots, the Red Rocker and the Blue Bomber, duke it out in a boxing ring; a blow to the chin causes their head to pop up, winning the round. The game was invented by Chicago-based toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates.
Meanwhile, at Father O’Rourke’s house …
Father Joseph F. O’Rourke (1938-2008) was an American Catholic priest who was defrocked as a result of his pro-choice and anti-war activism. He was defrocked by the Church in 1974 for baptizing a baby against orders. The baby's mother had told a newspaper that while she herself was not in favor of abortion, she was in favor of allowing others to make their own choice. For this crime, local church authorities denied her child the rite of baptism; O'Rourke did it anyway and was dismissed from the Church. He later married and had a child.
Didn’t the Ritz Brothers stay at this house? –Chased by a big ape or something?
In the 1939 film The Gorilla, the Ritz Brothers played detectives trying to solve murders apparently committed by a giant ape.
And how many martinis will sir be downing this evening?
Martinis are a genre of alcoholic cocktail made with gin (or sometimes vodka) and vermouth and usually garnished with olives or lemon rind. They were first served in the late 1800s.
Hey, Tom Skerritt!
Tom Skerritt is an actor who has appeared in such movies as Alien and M*A*S*H and starred in the TV series Picket Fences, which aired from 1992-1996.
George Winston, unbearded.
George Winston is a bearded pianist and composer whose instrumental albums of the 1980s and 1990s were at the forefront of “New Age” music’s popularity. His compositions are marked by extremely slow tempos, repetitive structures, and lots of space between notes—one concert review said simply: “Hey, wake up. It’s intermission.”
He looks like a young Cher.
Cher (b. 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.
This song is longer than “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida.”
“Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida” is a song by American rock group Iron Butterfly. Written by founding member and lead vocalist Doug Ingle and released in 1968, the full version of the song is slightly more than 17 minutes long. The title is a drunken interpretation of the phrase “In the Garden of Eden.”
A teen song for Bangladesh.
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a South Asian country that borders India and Myanmar. The country became widely known to young Americans in 1971 following a pair of benefit concerts organized by former Beatle George Harrison, which featured an A-list roster of rock stars and were the first big benefit rock concerts of their kind.
And so yet another season comes to an end for the Texaco Metropolitan Opera.
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City. It has been broadcasting its performances over the radio for more than 70 years, almost all of those shows sponsored by Texaco.
Hey, this is from Arte Johnson’s point of view!
Comedian Arte Johnson was a regular on the TV sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973). Periodically he would peer out from behind a potted plant, dressed as a German soldier, and inform the audience that the preceding sketch was “Very interesting, but stupid!”
[Sung.] He’s just a lonely boy …
“Lonely Boy” was Paul Anka’s first number-one hit song, released in 1959, the same year as Girls Town. Sample lyrics: “I’m just a lonely boy/Lonely and blue/I’m all alone/With nothin’ to do/I’ve got everything/You could think of/But all I want/Is someone to love.”
Say, Leontyne Price.
Leontyne Price is a Black opera singer who rose to fame at a time when casting Black performers in opera was still deemed controversial. She is best known for her performances in the title role of Aida, an opera by Verdi.
Your warm tumbler of Jagermeister, ma’am.
Jagermeister (“hunting-master” in German) is a German brand of liqueur that is 70 proof, vaguely licorice-flavored, very sweet, and meant to be served very cold. Shots of Jagermeister are a popular pickup bar and party beverage, leading to its notorious reputation as a source of crippling hangovers. As standup comic Matt Braunger put it: “Most hangovers, you’re worried about your health. Jager hangovers—you’re worried about your life.” Jagermeister is made with 56 herbs and spices, but there is no truth to the urban legend that it contains elk or deer blood.
And your martini, sir.
See note on martinis, above.
Boys to men. –To woman.
Boyz II Men are a Motown group founded in 1988 and enjoying a string of hits during the 1990s, including “One Sweet Day” and “End of the Road.”
I’m invoking Landers’ law.
Ann Landers, the advice columnist, had a rule she called “Landers’ law”: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
You know, when they appeared on Sullivan, they had to be shot above the eyebrows. With a camera.
When Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, his energy and sexually suggestive moves shocked the audience; for his third and final appearance on the show, he was shot only from the waist up to spare Ed’s viewers the sight of his swiveling hips.
They’re almost as good as the Statler Brothers.
The Statler Brothers were a country band popular in the 1960s and 1970s. They toured with Johnny Cash for nearly a decade. Hit songs include “Flowers on the Wall” and “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine.”
Whatchoo talkin’ about, Willis?
This was the catchphrase of Gary Coleman in his role as Arnold Jackson on the TV sitcom Diff’rent Strokes, about a rich white family that adopts a couple of Black kids. “Willis” was his brother, played by Todd Bridges. The show ran from 1978-1986.
So, you ever read any Balzac?
Honore de Balzac (1799-1850) was a 19th-century French novelist, credited with injecting realism into a genre known for its Gothic excess and romanticism. Among his many, many works are Old Father Goriot and Lost Illusions.
This is Hell Week for nuns.
The term “Hell Week” is used to describe a period of hazing in college fraternities and sororities, a particularly challenging component of training for Navy SEALs and police academies, and a week of technical rehearsals for theater performances.
Yeah, well, you’re a cookie full of arsenic and I’d like to take a bite out of you.
“I’d hate to take a bite out of you—you’re a cookie full of arsenic” is a line from the 1957 film Sweet Smell of Success.
“Sit there.” And sing “Shock the Monkey.”
“Shock the Monkey” is a song by Peter Gabriel. Sample lyrics: “Something knocked me out the trees/Now I'm on my knees/Cover me, darling please/Monkey, monkey, monkey/Don't you know when you're going to shock the monkey …”
So this is Schindler’s List now?
Schindler’s List is a 1993 film about Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist famed for having saved the lives of 1,300 Jews during World War II (1939-1945).
[Chanted.] We got guts, yes we do, we got guts, how ‘bout you?
A variation on that old cheerleading standby: “We’ve got spirit, yes we do, we’ve got spirit, how about you?”
Mr. B, the floor is scrubbed.
A reference to the TV sitcom Hazel, which aired from 1961-1966. It starred Shirley Booth (1898-1992) as Hazel Burke, a maid for a successful corporate lawyer and control freak who was continually upstaged by his housekeeper.
"The two of us against the world." I love you, Mommy.
"I love you, Mommy" is a line from the Helen Reddy song "You and Me Against the World." (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for this reference.)
A reference to the TV sitcom Laverne and Shirley, which ran from 1976-1983.
[Sung.] What’s new, gradypuss, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh …
A variation on the classic Tom Jones song “What’s New Pussycat.” Sample lyrics: “What's new pussycat? Woah, woah/Pussycat, pussycat/I've got flowers/And lots of hours/To spend with you.”
We’re all bozos on this bus.
I Think We’re All Bozos on This Bus is a 1971 album from surrealist comedy troupe Firesign Theatre. Their fourth release, the album features a complete narrative that covers both sides of the album, just over 39 minutes.
Aikman slips out of the pocket and he’s a cupcake.
Troy Aikman was the longtime quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
[Sung.] Where the boys are …
Where the Boys Are is a 1960 comedy/drama about four coeds who travel to Fort Lauderdale on spring break, in search of fun and men.
You know, if they were Baptist, they could have got the Platters.
See note on the Platters, above.
He’d never touch you, Terry. You’re dirt.
A reference to Show 522, Teen-Age Crime Wave.
You can sign with a card or a Visa or something.
Visa Inc. is a financial services company mostly known for its credit cards. It began in 1958 as a Bank of America pilot program and took the name Visa in 1976 as a familiar term in many languages. In later years, the name became a “backronym” for “Visa International Service Association.”
Heard of a Sadie Hawkins dance? This is kind of a k.d. lang dance.
Traditionally, a Sadie Hawkins dance is a dance where the women invite the men instead of the other way around. It originated with the “L’il Abner” comic strip, where a character named Sadie Hawkins was introduced in 1937. Sadie Hawkins dances were popular during the 1940s and 1950s, and have endured to the present day. k.d. lang is a country/rock musician who has released such hit songs as “Constant Craving.” She has publicly declared her lesbianism and is an outspoken advocate of animal rights, both traits that have occasionally brought her into conflict with her country-music audience.
It’s John Waters!
John Waters is an off-the-wall Baltimore filmmaker who has directed such off-the-wall masterpieces as Pink Flamingos (1972) and Hairspray (1988).
The Velvet Hog.
See note on the Velvet Fog, above.
[Sung.] Gigantor …
See note on Gigantor, above.
Tony Randall meets Harry O.
Tony Randall (1920-2004) was an actor who is best known for playing neat freak Felix Unger on the TV series The Odd Couple, which ran from 1970-1975. Harry O was a television series that ran from 1974-1976. It starred David Janssen as world-weary private eye Harry Orwell.
Oh man, I should have had the Clown Burger.
There is apparently a restaurant in the Dallas-Fort Worth area called Clown Burger, but I have serious doubts that this is what the writers were referring to. Anyone?
"It's all right, Mother." I'm only bleeding.
A reference to the Bob Dylan song "It's All Right, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)," off his album Bring It All Back Home. Sample lyrics: "Darkness at the break of noon/Shadows even the silver spoon/The handmade blade, the child's balloon/Eclipses both the sun and moon ..." (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Again, I don’t recall.
An imitation of President Ronald Reagan, who served from 1981-1989. Reagan suffered from a notoriously bad memory all his life, and the problem only got worse during the Iran-contra scandal of 1986-1987, when members of his administration were accused of selling arms to Iran to fund a covert illegal war in Nicaragua.
Stop giving me that Princess look.
Elinor Donahue, who plays Mary Lee in Girls Town, was best known for her role as eldest daughter Betty Anderson on Father Knows Best; Betty's nickname on the show was "Princess." (Thanks to Casey Scott for this reference.)
When did she turn into Polly Holliday?
Polly Holliday is an actress best known for playing the acerbic waitress Flo on the TV series Alice (1976-1985) and then later on its short-lived spinoff, Flo (1980).
What, Larry Hagman? What are you …
Larry Hagman (1931-2012) was an actor known for his roles on I Dream of Jeannie and Dallas.
And get Cher in here.
See note on Cher, above.
[Sung.] Doobly-doo … chestnuts roasting … That’s what I’m hungry for, chestnuts. Yeah.
A reference to “The Christmas Song,” composed in 1946 by Mel Torme and Bob Wells and made famous by Nat King Cole. Sample lyrics: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire/Jack Frost nipping on your nose/Yuletide carols being sung by a choir/And folks dressed up like Eskimos.” (Thanks to Andrew Cole for pointing out the Mel Torme connection.)
Judy, Judy, Judy.
An impersonation of Goober Pyle (George Lindsey) impersonating Cary Grant on The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968). Goober was known for his poor imitations of celebrities. Famously, Cary Grant never actually said “Judy, Judy, Judy,” but that line became the core of many bad imitations of him.
Just reach out and touch someone, baby.
“Reach out and touch someone” was an advertising slogan for AT&T in the early 1980s.
[Sung.] Our father, who art in heaven …
Tom is singing the rock version of “The Lord’s Prayer” that was a surprise hit in 1974 for Australian Roman Catholic nun Janet Mead.
You gotta cut me, Mick. Cut me.
The line “Cut me, Mick. Cut me” is from the 1976 film Rocky, when Rocky is pleading with his trainer to cut open his swollen eye so he can continue the fight.
[Sung.] Theme to Sanford and Son.
Tom is humming the theme to the TV sitcom Sanford and Son, which aired from 1972-1977. (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for this reference.)
I know who you are, I saw what you did, and I know what you’re wearing.
The 1965 horror movie I Know What You Did, starring Joan Crawford and John Ireland, is the heartwarming tale of two teenage girls whose prank phone call to a newly minted murderer doesn’t end well. It was followed by a 1988 made-for-TV remake. The similarly titled but totally different slasher film I Know What You Did Last Summer came out in 1997 and was followed by two sequels, the second of which went straight to DVD.
Oh, you have to use the St. Jude statue to talk to God, child.
Judas Thaddaeus, also known as Jude, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus Christ. (Not the bad Judas; that was Judas Iscariot.) In the Catholic faith, St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and desperate cases.
Well, it's better than scatting.
See note on scatting, above.
Operator, information, get me Jesus on the line.
A line from the gospel song “Operator,” written by William Spivery and first released by his quartet The Friendly Brothers in 1959. The Manhattan Transfer’s 1975 recording of it was their first successful single. Sample lyrics: “Operator/Information/Give me Jesus on the line/Operator/Information/I'd like to speak to a friend of mine.”
Well, then, is Geddy Lee there?
Geddy Lee is the singer and the bass player for the progressive rock band Rush.
It’s the Jay Leno gang.
Jay Leno is a standup comedian and the host of The Tonight Show from 1992-2014. He is well known as a collector of cars and motorcycles.
The Malcolm Forbes.
Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) was a publishing tycoon and an ardent motorcycling enthusiast. He even owned a motorcycle dealership in New Jersey.
[Sung.] Go, greased lightning, you’re burning up the quarter mile …
A line from the chorus to the song “Greased Lightning,” from the musical Grease. Sample lyrics: “Go greased lightning you're burning up the quarter mile/(Greased lightning go greased lightning)/Go greased lightning you're coasting through the heat lap trial/You are supreme the chicks'll cream for greased lightning …”
Dick Contino looks like Dick Francis.
Dick Francis (1920-2010) was an author and former jockey known for his mysteries set in the world of horse racing.
Mel Torme and his Jazz Nazis swing into action.
The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, popularly known as the Nazi Party, was the fascist political party started by Anton Drexler in 1920 and led by failed painter Adolf Hitler from 1921 until 1945.
[Scatting.] Achtung, baby! Because they’re Nazis …
Achtung Baby is the title of Irish rock group U2’s seventh studio album. Recorded in Berlin, Germany, and Dublin, Ireland, and released in late 1991, the album won a Grammy Award, sold millions of copies, and is considered by many rock critics to be one of the best albums of all time. “Achtung” is German for “danger.”
It’s not a Pucci.
Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) was a fashion designer popular during the 1950s and 1960s, known for his rich colors and dramatic patterns.
Probably a reference to the pop musician who has also made forays into reggae, jazz, and classical music. He is best known for his song “Is She Really Going Out with Him?” But it could also be a reference to Shoeless Joe Jackson (1887-1951), the disgraced baseball player associated with the 1919 Black Sox World Series cheating scandal.
Ben-Hur was a 1959 Hollywood epic starring Charlton Heston. One of the most famous scenes in the film is of a vicious chariot race.
Kind of a Dirty Larry and Crazy Murray here.
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is a 1974 movie about a couple who kidnap the daughter of a grocery store owner and spend the rest of the film getting chased by the cops.
Now who’s going to make Daddy-O?
A reference to Show 307, Daddy-O.
It’s either Jerry Van Dyke or a trained chimp.
Jerry Van Dyke is the brother of comedian Dick Van Dyke, and himself a comedian and actor. He has appeared in numerous television series, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Mother the Car, and Coach.
It’s the Banana Splits show!
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.
Must do Christina’s World …
Christina’s World is a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth, showing a girl lying in a field, gazing at a distant farmhouse. It was painted in 1948.
But I'm Princess!
See above note.
Hey, Sister C, this is Father Dowling.
Father Dowling Mysteries is a TV mystery series about a Catholic priest in Chicago (played by Happy Days’ Dad Tom Bosley) who fights crime and solves mysteries, with the help of a plucky streetwise nun. You know, that old story. It debuted as a TV movie in 1987, ran on NBC for one season in 1989, then was cancelled and picked up by ABC for two more seasons.
Say, is David Doyle …
David Doyle (1929-1997) was an actor best known for his role as John Bosley on the TV series Charlie’s Angels, which aired from 1976-1981.
You know, I know a lovely way to say how much you love me.
See note on “Having My Baby,” above.
Maybe Alan Dershowitz.
Alan Dershowitz is a Harvard professor and lawyer famous for his role in several high-profile cases, including the O.J. Simpson trial, for which he was part of the defense. His role in defending Claus von Bulow was dramatized in the 1990 movie Reversal of Fortune.
[Sung.] Tonight Show theme.
This is the theme played on the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson would come onstage; it was composed by Paul Anka. (Thanks to Brian Dermody for the Anka reference.)
Get out! Get out!
Although Serafina lying in her bed most likely recalls the possessed Linda Blair in the 1973 film The Exorcist, Blair never says this line. The voice booming "Get out!" belongs to another cheesy '70s horror classic, the 1979 flick The Amityville Horror. (Thanks to Casey Scott for this reference.)
[Sung.] I’m just a lonely boy …
See note on “Lonely Boy,” above.
Fabian Forte, known professionally as Fabian, was a teen idol during the late 1950s and 1960s. He has recorded dozens of albums and acted in more than 30 films, including Ten Little Indians, The Longest Day, and Thunder Alley.
I’d snicker-snag on you.
The Urban Dictionary website actually credits MST3K with bringing the phrase “snicker-snag,” meaning to hold someone down and dangle spit above their face, into the popular vernacular.
We are knee-deep in a Freudian quagmire here.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian medical doctor who is generally considered the father of psychoanalysis. A firm believer in analyzing dreams to gain insight into one’s unconscious, Freud emphasized the influence of sexual desire on human psychology; formulated the concept of the id, the ego, and the superego; and laid the foundation for modern psychotherapy and the “talking cure.”
Because in Cuckooville, there’s no Hit Parade.
Your Hit Parade was a TV show that ran from 1950-1959, in which the show’s regular vocalists would sing the seven most popular songs of the week.
“First step.” Bottle rockets.
Bottle rockets are a type of firework, a very small skyrocket attached to a long, thin stick. The stick can be poked into the ground, or, as the name implies, an empty bottle can be used as a launching pad. Illegal in many U.S. states and in all of Canada, bottle rockets are nonetheless cheap and easy to get.
This is the “Charge” fanfare written by USC student Tommy Walker in 1946. The fanfare is popular at baseball games and is commonly followed by the word “Charge!” being shouted by the crowd.
[Sung.] You cuckoo Maria, baby …
An imitation of crooner Frank Sinatra (1915-1998), who was known for inserting random phrases when he performed his songs, such as “With the cuckoo wind in your hair” or “Stick around, Jack.”
Special lyrics by Sammy Cahn.
Sammy Cahn (1913-1993) was a composer who worked with any number of performers over his lengthy career. He contributed many songs to movies, including “High Hopes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”; the latter was nominated for an Oscar, the former won one. In 1974 he got his own Broadway show, called Words and Music, which was hugely successful, touring for nearly two decades.
Oh, I'm a bad girl.
An imitation of comedian Lou Costello's trademark line "I'm a baaaad boy." (Thanks to Jerry Jones for this reference.)
He uses pomade from Lourdes.
Pomade is a hairstyling product for men: a greasy, waxy goo that gives hair a wet, shiny look. Pomade does not dry out by itself; it takes several washings to get it out of your hair. How did gangsters in the 1920s and “greasers” in the 1950s get that special slicked-back look? Pomade. Lourdes is a small town in southwestern France. In 1858 a young girl claimed to have seen a vision of the Virgin Mary in a grotto there; since then the town and its shrine to Mary have developed into a major destination for Roman Catholic pilgrims; water from the springs in the grotto has been officially credited with more than fifty miraculous healings by the Church. (Thanks to Bill Scalia for this reference.)
Second verse, same as the first.
This phrase is from the 1965 Herman’s Hermits song “I’m Henery the Eighth, I Am”; legend has it that the band simply forgot the words to the song and instead repeated the chorus over and over.
All right, that was “Ave Maria,” going out to Our Lady of Perpetual Groovin’.
“Ave Maria” is a composition by Franz Schubert written about 1825, part of his Opus 52, which adapts the epic Walter Scott poem Lady of the Lake. It uses the words from the traditional Latin prayer, which read (in translation, and in part): “Ave Maria! Ave Maria! Maiden mild!/Listen to a maiden's prayer!/Thou canst hear though from the wild/Thou canst save amid despair.” “Our Lady of Perpetual Groovin’” is a riff on Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also sometimes called Our Lady of Perpetual Succour), a famous Byzantine icon of the Virgin Mary. Popular reproductions have been available for centuries, and she even has her own feast day: June 27.
Meanwhile, at the Hotel New Hampshire …
The Hotel New Hampshire is a novel by John Irving about a family that endures all sorts of disasters. It was made into a movie starring Rob Lowe in 1984.
Paul Anka, P.I.
A take on the TV series Magnum, P.I., which aired from 1980-1988.
Ave Maria, huh? Come on, Ave Maria.
See previous note on "Ave Maria."
Tom Stewart killed me.
A reference to Show 414, Tormented.
Papillon is a 1973 film starring Steve McQueen as a prisoner bent on escape.
Eww, there’s Clown Burger wrappers everywhere … french fries on the floor …
See note on Clown Burger, above.
Here’s the file on Thelma Jordon.
The File on Thelma Jordon is a 1950 film noir starring Barbara Stanwyck in the title role.
Chip Douglas was the youngest of the sons on the TV sitcom My Three Sons, which aired from 1960-1972. The part was played by Stanley Livingston.
I tried to tell you the first time I came here!
An imitation of Pee-wee Herman, a character created and performed by American comedian Paul Reubens. A hyperactive man-child in a too-tight grey suit with a red bowtie, Pee-wee began as a somewhat adult-oriented stage act involving many of Reubens’ fellow performers in The Groundlings improv comedy troupe in Los Angeles; the show was filmed for a very popular 1981 HBO special. Reubens then toned down the adult humor and brought Pee-wee to the big screen with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985, with Tim Burton directing. The movie was a hit and led to an Emmy Award-winning children’s television series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran on CBS from 1986-1991. Another feature film, Big Top Pee-wee, was released in 1988. Following a scandal in 1991 (Reubens was arrested for masturbating in an adult movie theater), he put the Pee-wee character on ice until 2007.
Something in “Dilbert.” Never mind.
“Dilbert” is a comic strip about the foibles of working in an office; it has been published since 1989 and is one of the most successful comic strips of its time.
“Tijuana!” Maybe I could push Herb Alpert over a cliff.
Herb Alpert was the longtime leader of the Tijuana Brass, a brass band that became astoundingly successful in the 1960s. Possibly their most famous tune is “The Spanish Flea.”
Agent Double-O Heaven.
Agent 007 is the famous code designation for the suave superspy James Bond.
My mother! My sister! My mother! My sister!
A reference to the climactic scene of the 1974 film Chinatown, in which Jack Nicholson learns that thanks to an incestuous liaison, Faye Dunaway is both sister and mother to Katherine Cross. (Thanks to Erik Topp for pointing out this reference.)
I see a guy with a dewlap and a Triumph, that’s all.
Triumph was a British auto manufacturer, known for making small sports cars, that was founded in 1885 and ceased operations in 1984. The name is now owned by BMW.
Never once did you ask me to your house for coffee, and now …
A reference to the opening scene in the 1972 film The Godfather, in which Bonasera asks Don Corleone for a favor, and the Don replies, “We've known each other many years, but this is the first time you came to me for counsel, for help. I can't remember the last time that you invited me to your house for a cup of coffee, even though my wife is godmother to your only child. But let's be frank here: you never wanted my friendship. And you were afraid to be in my debt.”
Mortimer Snerd was a ventriloquist's dummy, the slow-witted friend of wisecracking Charlie McCarthy. Both dummies were given voice by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (1903-1978), who first introduced Charlie McCarthy on the vaudeville stage in the late 1920s, and then Mortimer Snerd on various radio programs in the late 1930s. Two decades of appearances in numerous films and television programs followed.
“I believe her.” I’ll tell my fellow Mounties.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, familiarly known as the Mounties, is the Canadian federal police force, in charge of enforcing parliamentary laws throughout the country. Their red uniforms and broad-brimmed hats are famous around the globe.
Santa Claus is a fairly recent synthesis of various Christmas traditions of a being who delivers gifts the night before Christmas. Claus is based primarily on the Dutch gift-bringer Sinterklaas, who was in turn derived from the 4th-century historical figure Saint Nicholas of Myra. (Sinterklaas, rather than elves, has “Black Pete” to assist him, which leads to the [unfortunate, to American eyes] tradition of dressing up in blackface, a tradition that is becoming somewhat controversial in the Netherlands as well.) In the 1770s, the name “Santa Claus” was first published as an Americanized version of Sinterklaas. The commonly known attributes of Santa Claus’s legend (his North Pole residence, elven helpers, reindeer-powered sleigh, etc.) became widespread after the 1821 publication of Clement Clarke Moore’s poem “Old Santeclaus” and the 1823 publication of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (a.k.a. “The Night Before Christmas,” also probably written by Moore). The famous image of Santa Claus as a jolly, chubby man with a full white beard and red clothing with white trim comes from the mid-1800s art of famed cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast’s illustrations later influenced depictions of Sinterklaas and England’s Father Christmas.
Angels, I need you to go undercover as high school girls.
An imitation of “Charlie” on the TV series Charlie’s Angels, which aired from 1976-1981. The voice of Charlie was supplied by John Forsythe.
St. Jude is coming, and he’s packing heat.
See note on St. Jude, above.
This house is on the National Register of Historic Hideouts.
The National Register of Historic Places is a national list of “cultural resources” deemed worthy of preservations. Said resources include historic districts, buildings, houses, and so forth. The National Register is part of the National Park Service.
A Nancy Drew mystery.
Nancy Drew is a fictional teenage detective in the classic series of children’s books. She debuted in 1930 and has remained consistently popular ever since.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.
A line from a beloved and recurring sketch from the second season of the BBC comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus: in a seemingly unrelated skit, someone irritated at being asked numerous questions says, “Well, I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition,” whereupon a group of Spanish Inquisitors, in historically accurate garb, bursts into the room and announces, “NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!”
Not without my daughter!
Not Without My Daughter is a 1991 film starring Sally Field as an American woman trying to get custody of her daughter from her Iranian husband.
We’ll get you to the Copa in time for your gig.
The Copacabana was 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.
Sam Peckinpah’s Six Degrees of Separation.
Sam Peckinpah (1925-1984) was a notoriously violent film director known for such movies as The Wild Bunch (1969) and Straw Dogs (1971). Six Degrees of Separation is a 1993 film starring Will Smith as a young man who moves in on a couple of rich New York art dealers by claiming to be a friend of their son’s.
“Well, if that’s the way you want it.” Uh-huh, uh-huh.
A callback to the song “That’s the Way (I Like It)” by K.C. and the Sunshine Band. Sample lyrics: “Oh, that's the way, uh-huh uh-huh/I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh/That's the way, uh-huh uh-huh/I like it, uh-huh, uh-huh.”
Ah, the rock in Betty Lou’s pantyhose.
The Gun in Betty Lou’s Handbag is a 1992 film starring Penelope Ann Miller as a mousy librarian who confesses to a crime she didn’t commit.
Oh, that move is pure Emma Peel.
Emma Peel was the smooth, karate-wielding spy on the British TV series The Avengers, which ran from 1961-1969. Peel was only on the show for a brief time, from 1965-1967, but she has become strongly identified with the series. The role was played by Diana Rigg.
An evening at Jake LaMotta’s house.
Jake LaMotta is a retired boxer, the world middleweight champion from 1949-1951, who had a turbulent personal life. His story was told in the 1980 film Raging Bull, with Robert De Niro playing the part of the boxer.
And he can solve the Rubik’s Cube.
The Rubik’s Cube was invented in 1974 by Erno Rubik. It was a fad toy during the 1980s, consisting of a cube with different colored sides that rotated; the object was to get all the colors to match once you had scrambled the cube up. Even today you can find solutions to the Cube posted on the Net.
Please, that’s where my Velvet Fog emanates from.
See note on Velvet Fog, above.
Well, he’s not really Clint Eastwood, but he gets the job done.
Clint Eastwood is a tough-guy actor famous for such roles as the Man with No Name in a series of spaghetti westerns and brutal cop Harry Callahan in the series of Dirty Harry movies.
[Sung.] Love lift us up where we belong …
A line from the song “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker. Sample lyrics: “Love lifts us up where we belong/Where the eagles cry/On a mountain high/Love lifts us up where we belong/Far from the world below/Up where the clear winds blow.”
Cantinflas, a.k.a. Mario Moreno Reyes (1911-1993), was a wildly popular Mexican comedian from the 1930s through the 1970s. (Thanks to Casey Scott for this reference.)
Change of habit!
Change of Habit is a 1969 movie starring Elvis Presley as a young doctor and Mary Tyler Moore as the nun who falls in love with him.
Whole lotta ends.
A riff on the 1969 Led Zeppelin song “Whole Lotta Love,” which became their first hit single in the U.S.