605: Colossus and the Headhunters
by Wyn Hilty
Colossus and the Headhunters: The story of a Greek immigrant in a tough job market.
A job recruiter, particularly in the arena of upper corporate management, is often referred to as a “headhunter.”
This movie is like a storm raging inside me.
A take on a slogan from an old Pepto-Bismol commercial: “Diarrhea is like a storm raging inside me.”
It’s the Ringo Starr gang.
Ringo Starr was the drummer for the Beatles. He also occasionally tried his hand at acting, including the 1981 epic Caveman.
We have to save Jerry Van Dyke’s house!
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.
Ned Beatty is a portly character actor who has appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows over the course of his career, including Deliverance and Superman.
Goodbye, John Entwistle and Mick Fleetwood!
John Entwistle (1944-2002) was the bass guitarist for The Who. Mick Fleetwood is a musician best known as the drummer for the rock group Fleetwood Mac. (Thanks to Warren Mills for the Entwistle reference.)
Carnival cruises were rustic back then.
The Carnival Cruise Line is one of the largest cruise companies in the world, with ships sailing to Alaska, Mexico, and the Caribbean, among other destinations.
The Lido deck.
In Great Britain, a Lido is a swimming pool and surrounding facilities, or a part of a beach where swimming and sunbathing is allowed. On a cruise ship, the Lido deck is where you’ll find the swimming pool, water slides, Jacuzzis, and the like.
Man, Hasselhoff can’t suck it in like this clown.
David Hasselhoff is an actor known best for his roles in such action-oriented series as Knight Rider (1982-1986) and Baywatch (1989-2001). On Baywatch in particular, he was often required to appear without a shirt, and became an object of gentle mockery for heroically holding in his gut on such occasions.
I want to talk to Julie, our cruise director.
Julie McCoy was the cruise director on the TV series The Love Boat, which aired from 1977-1986. The role was played by Lauren Tewes.
Well, looks like the fish got a new pope.
Traditionally, when the college of cardinals meets to elect a new pope to head the Catholic Church, they burn the ballots in a stove in the Sistine Chapel. Black smoke issuing from the chimney indicates that no new pope has been chosen; white smoke means one has. Even non-Catholics became familiar with this tradition in 2005, when the college met to elect John Paul II’s successor.
If only they had had First Alert.
First Alert is a brand of smoke detectors. In addition, the company makes other safety equipment, including flashlights, fire ladders, and emergency radios.
[Sung.] We caught the bloody Bismarck, and then we burned her down …
A reference to the song “Sink the Bismarck” by Johnny Horton. Sample lyrics: “We hit the deck a runnin' and we spun those guns around/Yeah we found the mighty Bismarck and then we cut her down.”
Do you have my hot rollers?
Hot rollers are a hairstyling device that heats hair curlers individually; the curlers retain the heat while styling hair.
Cheesesteak is a regional culinary favorite of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: a hoagie roll stuffed with thinly sliced beefsteak and smothered in melted cheese.
But I’ll need more Coppertone.
Coppertone is a brand of suntan lotion.
Regis, what are you doing here?
A reference to a commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines that featured Kathie Lee Gifford, the spokesperson for the cruise line, bumping into her Live with Regis & Kathie Lee co-host Regis Philbin on board.
We’re on the eve of destruction.
A line from the Barry McGuire song “Eve of Destruction.” Sample lyrics: “You're old enough to kill/But not for votin'/You don't believe in war/But what's that gun you're totin'/And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin'/But you tell me over, and over, and over again my friend/Ah, you don't believe we're on the eve of destruction.”
[Sung.] Ninety-nine amphorae of meat on the wall, ninety-nine … Come on! Sing!
A variation on the old school field trip standby “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”
Wonder if we’ll come across a piano.
The Piano is a 1993 film starring Holly Hunter as a woman who refuses to speak, and who communicates only through the music she plays on her piano. The advertising for the film showed a picture of a piano on a beach.
Medical waste! We’re in Trenton!
Trenton is the capital of New Jersey, with a population of about 85,000.
Very interesting … but stupid.
An imitation of comedian Arte Johnson on the TV sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973), who would appear dressed as a German soldier to inform the audience that the preceding sketch was “Very interesting, but stupid!”
[Sung.] I feel like Spartan tonight …
A variation on the advertising jingle for Chicken Tonight, a line of sauces for chicken. The actual jingle goes, “I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight.” The product line was introduced in 1992. Sparta was a city-state in ancient Greece, the chief rival to the city-state of Athens.
They washed up on a Klingon language camp.
Klingons are an alien race on the TV series Star Trek. An entire language has been created for the Klingons, and there are many people out there who have devoted themselves to learning it. There’s even an organization—the Klingon Language Institute—dedicated to helping people learn how to speak Klingon. In 1993 the first ever Klingon Language Camp was held in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota.
“We’ll take them away.” Ha-ha, hee-hee.
A reference to the song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV. Sample lyrics: ”They're coming to take me away/Ha ha, they're coming to take me away/Ho ho, hee hee, ha ha/To the funny farm/Where life is beautiful all the time/And I'll be happy to see/Those nice young men/In their clean white coats …”
They’re just gonna stick ‘em on a Greyhound and send ‘em right back.
Greyhound Lines Inc. is “the largest provider of intercity bus transportation,” according to their web site. The company was founded in 1914.
[Whistled.] Colonel Bogey March.
The “Colonel Bogey March” is one of the most famous marches ever written. It was composed by Kenneth Alford in 1914 and became even more widely known after it was featured in the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Walk into the woods, haven’t even put up my stand yet, I get a Theban! Nice one, too.
Thebes was a city in ancient Greece; according to legend, it was the birthplace of the mighty hero Hercules. It was not a major power along the lines of Sparta or Athens, but it did achieve immortality by defeating Sparta in battle in 371 B.C.E.
Yeah, let’s get back to the VFW.
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a national nonprofit organization with more than two million members. It exists as an advocacy group for veterans and also does a great deal of charity work.
All right. Buy a baklava.
Baklava is a sweet pastry made from multiple layers of thin filo dough interspersed with chopped nuts and bonded together with honey or some type of syrup. It originated in the Ottoman Empire.
If he had a shirt it’d be an Arrow shirt.
Arrow is a brand of men’s dress shirts that has been around since 1851. Today the company makes a wide range of clothing.
Watch out for snakes!
A reference to Show 506, Eegah!
Let’s see, do I sleep tonight, or not, or …
A reference to the song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” which was a number-one hit for the Tokens in 1961. It was written in the 1920s by South African Zulu musician Solomon Linda. Sample lyrics: “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight/In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight.”
Summer’s Eve is a “soap-free wash for a woman’s intimate cleansing needs” that is “designed to leave you feeling clean, fresh and confident”—in other words, it’s used to clean a woman’s genitalia.
The Bataan “oh my dogs are aching” March.
The Bataan Death March was a forced march of American and Filipino prisoners of war during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II. Of the 70,000 prisoners who set out on the march from the Bataan Peninsula to a POW camp, only 54,000 arrived; the rest died on the way or escaped into the jungle. After the war, the Japanese commander in the Philippines was executed for his role in the march.
They should relax—they're too tents!
This is the punch line to an old joke that goes like this: A man goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor, doctor, first I think I'm a tepee, then I think I'm a wigwam, then I think I'm a tepee!" And the doctor says, "The problem is, you're two tents." (Too tense, get it?) (Thanks to Daisy for this reference.)
They’re being forced to join the Rainbow Gathering.
The Rainbow Gathering is an annual event that began in the 1970s and continues today. It consists of a bunch of people meeting in some part of the U.S. National Forests and conducting a group meditation for world peace. There has been considerable friction over the years between the organizers of the gatherings and the U.S. government over the issue of permits.
Van Cliburn (1934-2013) is an American pianist who became famous around the world in 1958, when he won a piano competition in Moscow during the worst throes of the Cold War. The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is one of the most prestigious classical competitions in the world.
You ever feel like the world is Manhattan and you’re Fergus Falls?
Fergus Falls is a small town in Minnesota, with a population of about 13,000 people.
Who won the World Series in A.D. 10?
The World Series is a series of seven games, played annually between the championship baseball teams of the American League and the National League in the United States. There were some national championship baseball games played in the 19th century, but the first official modern World Series was held in 1903 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans (later the Red Sox); Boston won five games to three.
“Release that woman, stranger, she is our queen.” And let her love again.
A reference to the song "Release Me," written by Eddie Miller in 1946 and recorded by several people (including Miller), most famously by Engelbert Humperdinck in 1967. Sample lyrics: "Please release me, let me go/For I don't love you anymore/To waste our lives would be a sin/Release me and let me love again." (Thanks to Thomas Mossman for this reference.)
Louie-cus, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship-acus.
A reference to the famous last line of the 1942 film Casablanca: “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Goodbye, Mr. Colossus.
Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a 1934 novel by James Hilton about the life and times of a boarding school headmaster and professor. It was first adapted for film in 1939, followed by a much better known version in 1969, starring Peter O’Toole in the title role.
Both London and New York City have neighborhoods called Soho. London’s Soho has a lingering reputation as a hotbed of the sex industry, though it is now a more gentrified neighborhood, with upscale restaurants and media offices. New York’s SoHo (“South of Houston”), in Lower Manhattan, is known for art galleries, artist’s lofts, and upscale shops.
[Sung.] Wakka-chukka wakka-chukka wakka-chukka …
The infamous “wakka-chukka” guitar riff, popular in 1970s funk and soul music, has become a self-contained punchline for any reference to either blaxploitation films or porn; it was heavily used in both genres. Also a possible nod to the 1972 album and song titled "Waka/Jawaka" by rock composer and friend of the show Frank Zappa.
[Sung.] ... and the fire's Joe and ... Hey, how's it going?
A reference to the song "They Call the Wind Mariah," from the musical Paint Your Wagon. Sample lyrics: "Way out west they got a name/For rain and wind and fire/The rain is Tess, the fire's Joe/And they call the wind Mariah." (Thanks to Dana Derryberry for this reference.)
Hey, look, Ed Koch.
Ed Koch (1924-2013) was the three-time mayor of New York City, from 1978-1989. His well-known catchphrase was “How’m I doin’?”
How’m I doin’?
See previous note.
Hey! Get off the fairway!
In the game of golf, fairways are the long stretches of even, short grass that lead to the finely manicured greens, where the hole is. Fairways are bordered by longer, rougher grass, known, naturally, as the “rough.”
I’m having a strange interlude.
A reference to the Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers (1930), which contains the line “Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.” The line itself is a reference to the experimental Eugene O'Neill play Strange Interlude, in which the characters frequently interrupted the action of the play to make long soliloquies to the audience; in the film, Groucho takes a break for some crackpot philosophizing.
It’s kind of like a Greco-Roman Deliverance.
Deliverance is a 1972 movie about a group of friends on a canoe trip who are stalked by the spooky locals.
Oh great, it’s the Kappa Delts.
Kappa Delta is a sorority that was founded in 1897 at what is now Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.
Run! The Kingus verdict just came in!
In 1991, motorist Rodney King was viciously beaten by Los Angeles police officers. The beating was videotaped and caused an enormous outcry among the public. In the subsequent trial, held in sheltered Simi Valley, the officers were acquitted on charges of excessive force, and the verdict touched off a devastating riot in Los Angeles.
And they’re all wearing Easy Spirit pumps.
Easy Spirit is a brand of women’s shoes.
Jaye P. Morgan says no!
Jaye P. Morgan was a popular singer during the 1950s, but her true claim to fame came as a panelist on The Gong Show in the 1970s. (Thanks to J.T. Hollen for this reference.)
Tragically, the Lions and Jaycees reserved the same picnic area.
Lions Clubs International is a fraternal service organization whose members volunteer for various worthy causes. The Jaycees, a.k.a. the United States Junior Chamber, is a nonprofit group founded in 1920 to help give young people the skills they need to succeed in business. They also do a great deal of charity work.
This is the ancient incident that started Boyd Security.
Boyd Security Systems is a burglar and fire alarm company based in Norman, Oklahoma. It was founded in 1985.
The cross and the switchblade.
The Cross and the Switchblade is a book by evangelist David Wilkerson about his experiences preaching to gang members in New York City. The book was made into a movie starring Pat Boone in 1970.
They hadn't worked out all the kinks of the tanning booth system yet.
A tanning booth is a small, closet-like contraption—since replaced by tanning beds, a yet more coffin-like contraption—that emits ultraviolet radiation to produce a tan for cosmetic purposes. Tanning booths and beds have become less popular since the 1980s, when sun tanning and skin cancer began to be linked in people’s minds, but there are still tens of thousands of locations offering them in the United States alone.
They’re bumping uglies!
“Bumping uglies” is a euphemism for having sex. It is relatively recent slang, dating back only to the early 1990s.
If they had writing, this day would live in infamy.
In a speech made on December 8, 1941—the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt gave a speech in which he called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy.”
And another reconciliation between Shannen Doherty and Ashley Hamilton.
Shannen Doherty became famous for her role as Brenda Walsh on TV’s Beverly Hills 90210. She has acted in a number of TV series and movies since then, including the WB’s Charmed. In 1993 she married actor Ashley Hamilton, son of tanmeister George Hamilton; the marriage ended in divorce six months later.
[Sung.] They’re the cowards of the county …
A reference to the Kenny Rogers song “Coward of the County.” Sample lyrics: “Ev’ryone considered him the coward of the county/He’d never stood one single time to prove the county wrong/His mama named him Tommy, the folks just called him yellow/But something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong.”
Look at that—it’s Paul McCartney’s head on a pole.
Paul McCartney is a British musician who first rose to fame as a member of the Beatles, although he also enjoyed a successful solo career after that band broke up.
Seven hundred brides for seven hundred brothers.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a 1954 MGM musical about seven brothers who plot to get the wives they want by kidnapping them.
The tribe lives in a gravel pit outside Spooner.
Spooner is a town in the northwest corner of Wisconsin. Population: about 2,500.
Is Frontier Fremont around?
The Adventures of Frontier Fremont is a 1976 film about a man who sets out to make “the wilderness his home and the animals his friends.” It starred Dan Haggerty in the title role.
[Sung.] I am the very model of a modern major general …
A line from the song “A Modern Major General,” from the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance. Sample lyrics: “I am the very model of a modern major general/I've information vegetable, animal and mineral/I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical/From Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.”
I’m going to be on Blossom.
Blossom is a TV sitcom about a young girl being raised in a houseful of men. It starred Mayim Bialik in the title role; it aired from 1991-1995.
It’s an ancient UPS truck.
United Parcel Service, or UPS, is a package delivery service founded in 1907; today it is a multibillion-dollar corporation.
Barbra Streisand is an actress, singer, director, and all-around showperson, one of the few female performers to have earned the rank of diva. She has performed on Broadway, in movies, and in concerts, where she can command hundreds of dollars per ticket.
This is what it’s like getting into Friday’s.
TGI Fridays is a middle-class restaurant that serves such things as potato skins, burgers, steaks, pasta, and mammoth desserts.
[Sung.] Ontari-ari-oh-ohhhhh ...
This is apparently from an old TV commercial trying to attract visitors to Ontario, Canada.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) insures certain mortgages; when a HUD-insured buyer defaults, HUD forecloses on the home and then sells it as quickly as possible. These homes are known as HUD homes.
Hey, Terry Anderson.
Terry Anderson was a reporter for the Associated Press, assigned to cover the Middle East, when he was abducted off a Beirut street and held hostage for almost seven years. He was finally released in 1991.
And we'll call it Legends. What do you think, huh? Legends.
Legends Bar & Grill is a sports bar in Minneapolis, est. 1990. (Thanks to Dana Derryberry for this reference.)
Your own Catholic Mass.
Mass is a religious ritual of the Roman Catholic Church, consisting of readings from Scripture, a sermon, and the Eucharist.
Looks like the Federal Reserve board of directors.
The board of governors of the Federal Reserve system consists of seven men and women, each appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, who serve a term of fourteen years. A chairman is selected from among the members to serve for four years. Several of its members—especially its then-chairman, Alan Greenspan—are somewhat elderly.
Hey, hey, Cheesesteak, what am I? The Columbia logo! Get it?
The logo of Columbia Pictures is of a woman dressed in flowing robes and holding aloft a torch. The logo was first used in 1924 and has been repeatedly updated throughout the years.
Is the Marat/Sade down here?
Marat/Sade (or, to give it its full title, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) is a play by Peter Weiss about a play depicting the assassination of revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat, put on by the inmates of the asylum where the Marquis de Sade has been locked up.
I always thought it was Marat-Sharday.
Sade (pronounced Sharday) is a Nigerian-born singer (full name Sade Adu) who hit it big in the mid-1980s with such hits as “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator.” She continued to record throughout the 1990s; her album Lovers Rock was released in 2000.
The passage says, “He who reads these words of wit …”
A reference to a classic bit of bathroom graffiti: “He who reads these words of wit/Eats those little balls of shit”—a retort to another classic bit of bathroom graffiti: “He who writes on bathroom walls/Rolls up shit in little balls.”
Oh, must be Danny DeVito’s house.
Danny DeVito is a diminutive actor and director who came to fame playing irascible dispatcher Louie De Palma on the TV series Taxi, which aired from 1978-1983.
Well, I was getting some Amontillado, and, uh …
A reference to the Edgar Allan Poe short story “The Cask of Amontillado,” in which the unfortunate Fortunato is walled up alive inside a wine vault for unspecified insults to the narrator, Montresor.
Sounds like an old recording of Teddy Roosevelt.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the twenty-sixth president of the United States, from 1901-1909.
Oh, sorry, wrong wall. Go back to watching Phenom.
Phenom was a short-lived 1993 TV series about a young tennis star and her mother. It only lasted one season.
They’ve imprisoned Michael McDonald!
Michael McDonald was the lead singer for the Doobie Brothers from 1977-1982, when he disbanded the group and struck out on a solo career. He sang on some of the group’s most popular songs, including “Takin’ It to the Streets.”
“But it’s not possible.” To stick a Cadillac up your nose.
“It’s impossible to stick a Cadillac up your nose” is an old Steve Martin gag, off his album Let’s Get Small.
The Fabio army arrives.
Fabio Lanzoni, usually known as just 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.
Nurse, get me a Braille Playboy.
Playboy is a “men’s magazine” that celebrates the aspects of a “playboy” lifestyle: cocktails, gadgets, cars, and naked women with large breasts. The magazine has also published some of the most respected fiction and journalism in the country.
I don’t want to go to Camp Snoopy.
Camp Snoopy is a seven-acre amusement park located inside the Mall of America, an enormous shopping complex just outside Minneapolis.
[Sung.] To all the girls I’ve loved before …
A line from the Willie Nelson song of the same name. Sample lyrics: “To all the girls I've loved before/Who traveled in and out my door/I'm glad they came along/I dedicate this song/To all the girls I've loved before.”
And here’s your new roommate, Hannibal Lecter.
Hannibal Lecter is the cannibalistic serial killer featured in the Thomas Harris thriller The Silence of the Lambs. He was played by Anthony Hopkins in the 1991 movie version of the book, by Brian Cox in the 1986 film Manhunter (based on an earlier Harris book, Red Dragon), and by Mads Mikkelsen in the 2013 TV series Hannibal.
[Sung.] With a banjo on his knee …
A line from the traditional folk tune “Oh, Susanna.” Sample lyrics: “Oh, I come from Alabama/With a banjo on my knee/And I’m going to Louisiana/Where my true love waits for me.”
“Accept the inevitable.” Be here, now.
Be Here Now is the title of a book by Ram Dass that chronicles one man’s spiritual journey down the paths of yoga; it also serves as an introduction to the Hindu religion for Westerners.
Careful, I’ve got hips like Waterford Crystal.
Waterford Crystal is a maker of crystal stemware, chandeliers, etc.—more than 750 tons a year, give or take. Based in Waterford, Ireland, the company dates back to 1783 and is currently owned by Fiskars Corporation.
Ah, the all-encompassing movie judo chop.
In spy movies of the 1960s, bad guys were often rendered unconscious by a single blow to the neck or shoulders from the side of the good guy’s hand—a move known in karate as a “knifehand strike.” The Austin Powers spy-spoof movies cemented the term in the popular consciousness, when Powers would loudly announce “Judo chop!” before taking out a bad guy. The phrase is a misnomer, since the martial art of judo is more akin to wrestling, and strikes with the hands or feet are not allowed in competitive judo.
They’d be in more danger fighting off the Golddiggers.
The Golddiggers were a troupe of beautiful women who appeared on The Dean Martin Show, which aired from 1965-1974. They also appeared on a summer spinoff series, Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers (1968-1973).
We fought off the Hekawi.
The Hekawi were the local tribe of Indians on the TV series F-Troop, which aired from 1965-1967.
Try to look like caryatids.
A caryatid is a sculpture of a female form that serves as a column or support pillar in Greek architecture.
It’s like trying to escape from Aaron Spelling’s house.
Aaron Spelling (1923-2006) was the television producer behind such hits as Charlie’s Angels and Fantasy Island. In 1983 he bought six acres that formerly belonged to Bing Crosby and set about building a mammoth home. When finished, the house had 123 rooms; it is the largest single-family residence in California.
[Sung.] I go to the hills when my …
A line from the song “The Sound of Music,” from the musical of the same name. Sample lyrics: “I go to the hills when my heart is lonely/I know I will hear what I've heard before/My heart will be blessed with the sound of music/And I'll sing once more.”
Caligula, in The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams.
Caligula (12-41 C.E.) was a notoriously unstable and cruel Roman emperor who was assassinated by his own guards.The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was a 1975 movie starring Dan Haggerty as James Adams, a man who lives alone in the mountains with his pet bear. It was turned into a short-lived TV series, also starring Haggerty, in 1977; more TV movies and films followed.
Take off that Handi-Wipe.
Handi-Wipes are woven, cloth-like wipes designed for cleaning up household messes. They are manufactured by Clorox.
Well, gotta go Armor All my cape.
Armor All is a brand of auto care products, which include cleaners, protectants, polishes, and more. The protectant is designed to keep vinyl, rubber, and plastic looking new.
Hey. Leggo my Eggo.
“Leggo my Eggo” is an old advertising slogan for Eggo frozen waffles.
And I need a Berber rug in here.
Berber carpets or rugs, named for the Berber people of North Africa who hand-wove carpets, are usually in plain colors with no pattern and are popular for high-traffic use, such as in offices.
Dr. Zaius was one of the intelligent apes in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes; the part was played by Maurice Evans.
It’s the sledge-o-matic!
The sledge-o-matic refers to the sledgehammer that standup comedian Gallagher uses to smash watermelons and other produce during his show.
King Vitaman is a cereal produced by Quaker. In its original incarnation, the box sported a photograph of a gray-haired gent in a crown, happily holding a spoonful of cereal. Later the photo was replaced by a cartoon drawing of a king, a change that appears to have upset a lot of people, judging by the scathing websites.
”As you like.” It.
As You Like It is a play by William Shakespeare involving sibling rivalry, dukes usurping thrones, and mistaken identities among hordes of young lovers.
We should have had Shandling do it.
Garry Shandling is a standup comedian and actor known for his TV series It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Larry Sanders Show.
Jeez, he’s like Art Garfunkel walking around the world. –Except he doesn’t have an assistant to pick him up and take him to his hotel every night.
In the early 1980s, musician Art Garfunkel began an “around-the-world hike” in which he would travel a little bit at a time, then every year would fly back to his end point and start hiking again. In this fashion, he has covered Japan and the United States and is working his way through Europe.
Do you know? Do you know who did it?
A reference to the 1975-1976 TV series The Adventures of Ellery Queen. At the end of each episode, Queen would look at the audience and ask, “Have you figured it out? Do you know who the murderer is?” and then reveal the solution to the mystery.
He’s crossed the Macon county line.
Macon County Line is a 1974 film starring young actors you’ve never heard of as brothers who find themselves hunted by the law after their car breaks down in Macon County.
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.
That’s at Six Flags over Thebes.
Six Flags is a chain of amusement parks that includes Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Great America, among many others. See note on Thebes, above.
The guy looks like a cross between Spock and Bones.
A reference to Mr. Spock, the second in command of the starship Enterprise, and Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the doctor on the original Star Trek series, which aired from 1966-1969, and in many of the Star Trek feature films—eight for Spock, six for Bones. The roles were played by Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley, respectively.
Damn it, me!
“Damn it, Jim!” was a favorite phrase of Bones McCoy (see previous note).
Hi-ho, Kermes here.
An imitation of Kermit the Frog, a Muppet who appeared on both the PBS kids’ show Sesame Street and on The Muppet Show. He was voiced by Jim Henson.
Well, I got me a dress down to Rush’s Bridal Shop.
Rush’s Bridal Shop is a wedding store located in Minneapolis.
Miss Manners says the father of the bride should wear beige and keep his eyes shut.
“Miss Manners” is a syndicated etiquette advice column written by Judith Martin. It was first published in 1978. While not a rule specifically endorsed by Miss Manners, there is an old adage in the wedding-planning world that states “The mother of the groom should wear beige and keep her mouth shut.”
Spock, Bones, a little bit of Elton John in there …
See note on Spock and Bones, above. Elton John is a flamboyant British pop singer and pianist known for such hits as “Bennie and the Jets” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” He hit his peak of popularity during the 1970s.
His favorite band is Blind Melon.
Blind Melon was an alternative rock band in the early 1990s, best known for their hit “No Rain.” The band split up after the lead singer was found dead of an apparent overdose while on tour.
You know, maybe we could give her an extra long scarf and send her out for a drive.
Isadora Duncan (1877-1927) was one of the founders of modern dance. In 1927, while she was driving in Nice, France, her long scarf became entangled in one of the wheels of her car and strangled her.
You guys know “Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life”?
A reference to the song “Can I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray, a popular choice at weddings. Sample lyrics: “Can I have this dance for the rest of my life?/Would you be my partner, there every night?/When we're together it feels so right/Can I have this dance for the rest of my life?”
She’s a dancing Millie Helper.
Millie Helper was a character on The Dick Van Dyke Show. She was played by actress Ann Morgan Guilbert. Guilbert went on to act in movies and other TV shows, including Picket Fences and The Nanny.
Ready for a table dance over here, gentlemen? No? I’ll be back.
In the world of strip clubs and “gentlemen’s clubs,” a table dance involves a dancer or dancers doing their thing right next to a customer’s table, instead of on a stage.
And now the traditional viewing of Berlin Alexanderplatz.
Berlin Alexanderplatz was a 1980 West German miniseries that was given a theatrical release after its original airing. The film version, clocking in at 15½ hours, is generally cited as the longest narrative film ever made. (There are longer films, but they tend to be experimental art films without plots: 10 solid days of staring at a building in Helsinki, for example.)
This is where they play the Wedding March on bongos.
The "Wedding March" is the music traditionally played during wedding ceremonies to usher the bride down the aisle. It was written by Felix Mendelssohn in 1842 as part of a suite of music to accompany Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Great balls of fire!
A reference to the Jerry Lee Lewis song “Great Balls of Fire.” Sample lyrics: “You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain/Too much of love drives a man insane/You broke my will, but what a thrill/Goodness gracious great balls of fire.”
Oh, no, it's the kids from Camp Shin-Go-Beek!
Camp Shin-Go-Beek is a camp in central Wisconsin, about fifty miles west of Oshkosh. (Thanks to S.S. for this reference.)
Oh, she majored in fencing at Sarah Lawrence.
Sarah Lawrence College is a small liberal arts college in Yonkers, New York. It was originally a women-only school, but it began admitting men in 1969 and is now coeducational.
An imitation of Mr. Spock from Star Trek (see above note).
John 3:16 … oh, forget it, never mind.
John 3:16 is a passage in the Bible that reads “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The tradition of holding up a sign at football reading simply “John 3:16” dates back to a man named Rollen Stewart, who began doing it in 1980 on the theory that people would start looking things up in the Bible and become converted to Christianity. Stewart wound up serving a life sentence in jail for kidnapping.
Meanwhile, Sonny’s upstairs with the maid of honor.
In the 1972 film The Godfather, Sonny Corleone (played by James Caan) slips upstairs for a quickie with the maid of honor at his sister's wedding while his wife’s attention is elsewhere.
Kind of like the final day at WE Fest.
WE Fest is a country music festival held near Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. (Thanks to Dana Derryberry for this reference.)
There can be only three hundred!
A variation on the famous line from the 1986 movie Highlander: “There can be only one!”
Wild and crazy guys!
A reference to the early years of Saturday Night Live, when Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd would appear in a series of running skits as “two wild and crazy guys.” Steve Martin frequently wore a hat with an arrow on it in his standup act.
It’s the Exerstick, $99.95.
In the early 1990s, there was a cheap exercise device known as the “Exerstick.” A short length of padded aluminum tubing and elastic bands were involved.
Behold the only thing greater than yourself—me!
In a famous scene from the 1977 TV miniseries Roots, based on the 1976 novel by Alex Haley, Kunta Kinte's father holds him up to the night sky as a newborn baby in Gambia and declares, “Kunta Kinte, behold the only thing greater than yourself.”
A line from the animated TV show The Simpsons, spoken by school bully Nelson.
A fire scene to rival the burning of Atlanta!
On November 15, 1864, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman burned the city of Atlanta to the ground and began his famous “March to the Sea,” destroying everything in his path.
We are registering at Target. Now come on.
Target is a nationwide chain of discount stores; the first Target opened in 1962.
I have to get to my tanning sessions.
See note on tanning booths, above.
Ah, the Poconos are so nice for honeymooners.
The Pocono Mountains, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, are a popular resort area.
They’re just going to walk to Las Vegas and get married.
In addition to its fame as a gambling and entertainment mecca, Las Vegas is known as “The Marriage Capital of the World,” thanks to the ease with which you can get a marriage license in Nevada, and the many forms of cheap and/or themed weddings that are offered in Vegas.
Don’t let Dennis Franz beat you up.
Dennis Franz is an actor best known for playing Detective Andy Sipowicz on the TV series NYPD Blue, which aired from 1993-2005.
This is a typical Robert Bly retreat.
Poet Robert Bly’s 1990 book Iron John spawned the men’s movement of the 1990s, in which men gathered for “workshops” to beat drums and explore their relationships with their fathers.
Look in back—it’s the wine cellars of Pat Paulsen.
Pat Paulsen (1927-1997) was a comedian who became famous for his appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, but he is best remembered for his tongue-in-cheek efforts to win the presidency of the United States. Also a reference to “the wine cellars of Ernest and Julio Gallo,” which was an old advertising line for the inexpensive, nonvintage California winery.
And Bobby “The Brain” Heenan has Wahoo McDaniel in a deathlock.
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan was a professional wrestler during the 1960s who went on to become a very successful wrestling manager. Wahoo McDaniel (1938-2002) was a former football player turned professional wrestler who worked the ring for 30 years before retiring in 1989.
[Sung.] My heart wants to sing every song it hears …
A line from the song “The Sound of Music,” from the musical of the same name. Sample lyrics: “The hills are alive with the sound of music/With songs they have sung for a thousand years/The hills fill my heart with the sound of music/My heart wants to sing every song it hears …”
“Hiding behind a woman.” Oh, like Tom Arnold.
Tom Arnold is a writer, producer, and actor. He is perhaps best known, however, for his stormy marriage to comedian Roseanne Barr, whose show he worked on as a writer, and whose demands on the network helped to get his failed sitcoms on the air.
It’s a Dungeons & Dragons version of the Newlywed Game.
Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game in which players pretend to be elves, wizards, and other creatures out of legend as they battle monsters and collect treasure. The Newlywed Game is a TV game show in which newly married couples competed to see who could give the same answers to (often racy) questions. It has aired in several different versions since the original debuted in 1966.
He’s trapped Rowan Atkinson.
Rowan Atkinson is a British comedian and actor best known for his role as eternal schemer Edmund Blackadder on the British TV series Black Adder and for playing Mr. Bean on the series (and movies) of the same name.
An imitation of Rowan Atkinson (see previous note).
[Sung.] It’s raining men … hallelujah …
A line from the Weather Girls song “It’s Raining Men,” written in 1979 by Paul Jabara and Paul Shaffer (of Saturday Night Live, This is Spinal Tap, and Late Show with David Letterman fame). Sample lyrics: “It's raining men! Hallelujah!/It's raining men! Amen!/I'm gonna go out to run and let myself get/Absolutely soaking wet!”
This … is … easy … oh, hold on … comedy … is … hard …
A riff on one of the all-time great show-biz quotes, and like most all-time great quotes, there is some debate about its origins. The line “Dying is easy, comedy is hard,” or variations of it, has been attributed to Peter O’Toole, Edmund Kean, and Donald Crisp, but most deep research points to those being approximately the last words of British actor Edmund Gwenn (1877-1959), best known for playing Santa Claus in the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street.
Either these curtains go or I do.
According to some sources, Victorian poet and playwright 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.”
They’re stoic Midwesterners.
With its large population of descendents of famously stoic Norwegian immigrants, the social culture of many Midwestern and Upper Plains states is marked by politeness, friendliness, understatement, and an aversion to emotional expression, aggressiveness, or boasting of any kind. “Death before confrontation” is their watchword. Known as “Minnesota Nice,” some contend the culture is a breeding ground for repressed emotions and passive-aggressive behavior. Minnesota Nice is front and center in the Coen brothers' 1996 dark comedy Fargo.
It’s Robbie Douglas.
Robbie Douglas was one of the titular sons on the TV sitcom My Three Sons, which aired from 1960-1972. The part was played by Don Grady.
Well, his life, his love and his lady is the sea.
A reference to the song “Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass. Sample lyrics: “The sailor said ‘Brandy, you're a fine girl’ (you're a fine girl)/’What a good wife you would be’ (such a fine girl)/’But my life, my love and my lady is the sea …’”
Your movie for the voyage is Grumpy Old Men.
Grumpy Old Men is a 1993 film starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon as elderly neighbors who have had a running feud for 50 years.
Old Jim and I went down to Hannibal.
A reference to the novel Huckleberry Finn, in which Huck and Jim travel down the Mississippi River on a raft. Hannibal was the hometown of the novel’s author, Mark Twain.
Go back, Flipper!
Flipper is 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.
Cheesesteak will be back in David Brenner’s Soft Pretzels and Mustard.
Soft Pretzels with Mustard is the title of comedian David Brenner’s 1983 memoirs.