616: Racket Girls
by Wyn Hilty
Allstate. –[Sung.] Ding, ding, ding.
Allstate is an insurance company founded in 1931 that offers auto, home, and life insurance, among other products and services. Their advertising slogan has been “You’re in good hands with Allstate” since 1950. The "Ding ding ding" is from a jingle used in their commercials.
[Sung.] Happy trails to you …
A line from the song “Happy Trails,” which was the theme song for Dale Evans and Roy Rogers; it was written by Evans. Sample lyrics: “Happy trails to you, until we meet again/Happy trails to you, keep smilin' until then/Who cares about the clouds when we're together?/Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather.”
I touched your Vitalis—I’m gonna go wash my hands.
Vitalis is a line of men’s hair care products: hair spray, tonic, etc. In the 1940s and 1950s the tonic was especially popular for slicking the hair back in a socially conservative fashion.
You still didn’t pay your Grit bill, ma’am.
Grit is now a glossy magazine published six times a year, but from its founding in 1882 through much of the 20th century, it was a weekly newspaper that focused on small town and rural family life. By the mid-1930s its circulation approached 500,000 readers, most of them in small towns and farm communities. For most of its heyday, Grit was sold and delivered by kids and teenagers, who were recruited through ads placed in comic books.
I hope Leopold doesn’t find out about this.
Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were a pair of wealthy, intelligent young men (and lovers) who, in 1924, decided to commit the perfect crime by kidnapping and murdering Loeb’s neighbor, 14-year-old Bobby Franks. The murder was far from the perfect crime: Leopold left his eyeglasses at the scene and used his typewriter to write the ransom note. The men were sentenced to life in prison. Loeb was killed by another inmate in 1936; Leopold was paroled in 1958. The story was used by Alfred Hitchcock as the basis for his 1948 film Rope.
It’s just Campustown, Jake.
“Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown” is a famous line from the 1974 film Chinatown.
I got kicked out of L7.
L7 is an all-woman punk band formed in 1985. They are best known for their 1992 album Bricks Are Heavy—that, and for a concert performance that same year in which guitarist Donita Sparks removed her tampon onstage and flung it at the crowd.
An imitation of Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017) as Laura Petrie, Rob Petrie’s wife on the TV sitcom The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966).
I think it was in “Humor in Uniform.”
“Humor in Uniform” is a regular feature in the magazine Reader’s Digest, featuring humorous anecdotes about military life sent in by readers.
“His name is Hall.” Huntz Hall?
Huntz Hall was an actor known for his portrayal of Horace Debussy “Sach” Jones in the Bowery Boys films of the 1940s and 1950s.
First Federal Church, member FDIC.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is an independent government corporation that insures bank deposits against the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the banking system. It was put into place after the panic of the Great Depression, in which many banks closed and customers lost their life’s savings.
Herr Oberst is a polite way of addressing an officer in the German army; the English equivalent would be “Colonel, sir.”
“I had a chum in college who had the real thing with eight successive girls.” Wilt Chamberlain?
Pro basketball player Wilt Chamberlain bragged in his 1991 biography that he had had sex with 20,000 women. The revelation made him the butt of jokes by comedians and the target of conservatives’ ire for his promiscuity.
Except Dwight Eisenhower.
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.
Shut up, Iris.
A reference to Show 415, The Beatniks.
Bobby Orr’s electric marriage. Real marriage action.
There were several old games that went under the name “Electric Hockey,” although none of them were specifically associated with player Bobby Orr. Orr did have a game called “Bobby Orr Hockey,” although as far as I could tell it was not electric.
“Your mental growth.” Represented by Tom Dewey.
Thomas Dewey (1902-1971) was the governor of New York and the Republican presidential candidate in 1944 (against incumbent FDR) and 1948 (against Harry Truman, the source of the famous newspaper headline “Dewey Defeats Truman”). He was not exceptionally short (5’8”), but the acerbic Alice Roosevelt Longworth (daughter of Teddy) dubbed him “the little man on the wedding cake,” a sobriquet that haunted him the rest of his life.
It’s a little Hitler baby over there.
Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the dictator of Germany during World War II (1939-1945). He was often caricatured for his odd “toothbrush” mustache.
I’ve asked King Vitaman to join us.
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.
Here we have the frequency response of the JBL.
JBL is a home audio company that makes speakers, subwoofers, and the like. Frequency response, according to the JBL website, is “a measure of the amplitude vs. frequency performance of an audio component, measured from its input to its output. A perfect electronic device should have a flat, or linear, frequency response over its useful frequency range, indicating that it reproduces all frequencies at the correct level.” I hope that clears things up.
Is that like Transformers?
Transformers are a type of Japanese toy (marketed in America by Hasbro) consisting of robots that can “transform” (by twisting into another configuration) into cars, airplanes, etc. They were introduced outside Japan in 1984 and were quickly followed by a cartoon, comic books, and even a movie. Michael Bay later made a successful series of CGI-heavy films based on the toys beginning in 2007. They have a devoted following of fans and are still being produced today.
An imitation of Rocky the Flying Squirrel from the cartoon series The Bullwinkle Show, which aired from 1961-1973. The character was voiced by June Foray.
Suddenly their marriage is The Eiger Sanction.
The Eiger Sanction (1975) is a movie starring Clint Eastwood as an assassin who joins a mountain climbing team in which one member is the Russian killer he has been assigned to eliminate. It was based on the novel by Trevanian, which was actually intended as a spoof of James Bond-style spy novels. When some critics failed to see the humor, the author titled his sequel The Loo Sanction ("loo" being British slang for "toilet").
Marines, we are leaving!
A commonly misquoted line from a movie. In the 1986 sci-fi/action movie Aliens, Corporal Hicks (played by Michael Biehn) informs Private Drake (played by Mark Rolston) that their squad is withdrawing from a firefight. Actual line: “Drake, we are leaving!” (Thanks to Jeff Grindle for the misquote correction.)
Sorry—back in Danang there for a minute.
Danang is a port city in central Vietnam, the site of an important American military base during the Vietnam War.
I worship Cthulhu.
Cthulhu is a monster invented by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It is described as a vaguely octopus-like creature.
So give to me your leather, take from me my lace.
A line from the Don Henley/Stevie Nicks duet “Leather and Lace.” Sample lyrics: “I need you to love me/I need you today/Give to me your leather/Take from me my lace …”
It’s the Hitlers!
See note on Adolf Hitler, above.
Hi Roy! Who’s the beard? Oh, sorry.
In this context, a “beard” is a person you date to divert suspicions about your sexual orientation.
With a new car!
An imitation of the announcer on the long-running game show The Price Is Right.
[Imitating Frankenstein’s monster.] Rrrr! Rrrr!
Frankenstein is an 1818 novel by Mary Shelley about a scientist who transgresses the laws of God by bringing a dead man back to life and then callously abandons his creation. It has been adapted to film countless times, with the most famous being the 1931 version starring Boris Karloff. Although in the novel the creature is sensitive and articulate, first teaching himself to speak and then to read, in the movies he usually communicates with grunts and roars.
Oh, I guess it’s any given day at Madonna’s house.
Madonna is a pop singer and cultural icon, a woman whose skill at manipulating the media and outrageous lifestyle often overshadowed her music. She first rose to fame in the early 1980s with such hits as “Lucky Star” and “Material Girl.” Before long she had reinvented herself as a torchy platinum blonde, the first of many such transformations in her career. Other personas have included hippie, jock, and, more recently, children’s book author.
Amanda Bearse and Sandra Bernhard go at it.
Amanda Bearse is an actress best known for her role as neighbor Marcy D’Arcy on the TV sitcom Married … with Children (1987-1997). Comedian Sandra Bernhard is an actress and writer who is to some extent famous for being famous. She has appeared in a number of movies (including The King of Comedy and Hudson Hawk) and had a well-publicized friendship with Madonna. She also appeared for several seasons on Roseanne.
Ah, Elvis throws another party.
Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, was one of the most popular musicians from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42.
Bob Crane’s private video collection.
Actor Bob Crane (1928-1978) played Colonel Robert Hogan on the TV sitcom Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971). In 1978 he was beaten to death in Scottsdale, Arizona. During the investigation and subsequent trial of his friend John Henry Carpenter for his murder (Carpenter was acquitted), it came to light that Crane was an enthusiastic amateur pornographer: Carpenter had helped him make videos of himself having sex with many, many women. The murder remains officially unsolved.
Apples, peaches, pages pie …
“Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie” is a song by Jay and the Techniques. Sample lyrics: “Apples peaches pumpkin pie/Who's afraid to holler I?/That's a game we used to play/Hide and seek was its name.”
By the way, the referee is Charlie Watts.
Charlie Watts is the drummer for the Rolling Stones.
I'd say the DAR fundraiser is going quite well.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a historical organization whose membership is composed of women who can prove direct descent from an ancestor who helped the country achieve independence in the American Revolution.
Mike, is this the Thrilla from Manila?
The “Thrilla in Manila” was the third and final boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, which took place in the Philippines on October 1, 1975. Ali won after Frazier’s corner called a halt to the fight after fourteen horrific rounds. It is considered by many to be one of the greatest fights of all time.
No, it’s the Snooze in Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz, California, is a small beach community on the Pacific coast just north of Monterey and about an hour south of San Francisco. The University of California, Santa Cruz, makes it an educational hub, and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk makes it a tourist destination.
No wonder people went nuts over the Beatles. This is all there was!
The Beatles were a staggeringly influential British rock band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They produced a lengthy string of number one hits, inspired countless bands, caused riots among female teenage fans, annoyed the Establishment, and generally set the stage for the rock & roll revolution of the 1960s.
[Sung.] Dance with me … I want to be your partner, can’t you see …
A line from the song “Dance with Me” by Orleans. Sample lyrics: “Dance with me, I want to be your partner/Can't you see the music is just starting?/Night is falling, and I am falling/Dance with me.”
We salute you, George Weiss, for having the courage to put your fantasies on screen. –Fantascreen.
A possible reference to a 1986 episode of the animated TV series SilverHawks, titled “Fantascreen.”
Come on, get some Jell-O or mud or oil or something!
Jell-O wrestling, mud wrestling, and hot oil wrestling are titillating contests featuring hot, scantily clad women grappling with each other in some slippery substance for the enjoyment (and, presumably, arousal) of men.
The audience is expecting a Jim Fowler travelogue.
Zoologist Jim Fowler (1930-2019) was the co-host of the TV show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom; when venerable host Marlin Perkins retired in 1985, he took over hosting duties completely.
An imitation of Curly Howard (born Jerome Lester Horwitz; 1903-1952) of the Three Stooges.
Wayne Newton is a singer who has only had a few radio hits, most especially 1963’s “Danke Schoen.” But in Las Vegas he is one of the most popular entertainers in the city’s history, earning $1 million per month at his peak. He filed for bankruptcy in the 1990s but quickly recovered financially.
[Sung.] Ee-o eleven …
A reference to the song “Ee-O Eleven,” performed by Sammy Davis Jr. in the 1960 Rat Pack movie Ocean’s 11.
Danke schoen. Right. Thank you.
See previous note on Wayne Newton.
Plays of the week!
Probably an imitation of Dan Patrick, a former anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter, who provided the voiceover for that show’s “Plays of the Week” feature. He has since made the jump to radio, where he hosts The Dan Patrick Show.
I knew if baseball went on strike other sports would take over.
In 1994 there was an epic strike among the players of major-league baseball, which led to the cancellation of that year’s World Series, the first time that had happened in 90 years. The strike angered fans, with some blaming the owners and others the players. The strike lasted until April of the following year.
Mary McCarthy and Lillian Hellman have it out.
Author Mary McCarthy (1912-1989) and playwright Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) feuded for years, a dispute that began when McCarthy appeared on The Dick Cavett Show in 1979 and said, “Every word she [Hellman] writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.’” Hellman filed a $2.5 million libel suit against McCarthy; the suit had not yet been settled by the time Hellman died in 1984.
[Sung.] Sisters, sisters/Never were there such devoted sisters …
A paraphrase of the Irving Berlin song “Sisters, Sisters.” The actual lyrics: “Sisters, sisters/There were never such devoted sisters.”
Remember when Bobby Riggs wrestled Billie Jean King?
In 1973, male tennis star Bobby Riggs played female tennis star Billie Jean King in a famous match that was billed “The Battle of the Sexes”; King won.
This is the Singing Nun in their declining years.
The Singing Nun, a.k.a. Sister Luc Gabrielle, was a Belgian nun in the Dominican order. She rose to international fame with her 1963 hit “Dominique.” In 1967 she left the convent and eventually opened a school for autistic children with her companion of ten years, Annie Pecher. In 1985, in despair over the failure of their school and hounded by the Belgian government for payment of back taxes, the two women committed suicide and were buried together.
Paloma Picasso’s enjoying it.
Paloma Picasso is the daughter of famed 20th-century artist Pablo Picasso. She has earned a reputation of her own as a respected fashion designer; her jewelry designs are sold at Tiffany’s.
You want Jujubes or Jujyfruit?
Jujubes and Jujyfruits are types of candy. Jujubes are small, stiff candies, kind of like tiny, hard gumdrops; they are usually sucked on rather than chewed, unless you like losing fillings. Jujyfruits are larger and softer, more like a traditional gumdrop or modern “gummy” candies. Both are made by the Ferrara Candy Corporation, and are mostly sold in movie theater concession stands.
I saw this match on Lifetime.
Lifetime is a cable TV channel whose programming focuses on women. It airs second-run shows such as The Golden Girls and Designing Women, as well as many original made-for-TV movies.
Hey, it’s Harpo!
Arthur “Harpo” Marx (1888-1964) was the second oldest of the brothers in the classic comedy team the Marx Brothers, who were popular on stage and screen for thirty years. Dressed in a reddish curly wig and a trenchcoat, Harpo never spoke on film (his brother Groucho claimed he just couldn’t think of anything to say), relying on his brilliant flair for physical comedy to generate the laughs.
An imitation of Curly Howard of the Three Stooges.
I prefer the traditional Hamlet.
Hamlet is a play by William Shakespeare, written sometime around 1600. The title character is the Prince of Denmark, who discovers that his uncle, who has since married his widowed mother, murdered his father the king. He spends the rest of the play deciding what to do about it.
[Sung.] She holds the title and never lets go/That’s why the lady is a champ …
A reference to “The Lady Is a Tramp” by Frank Sinatra. Sample lyrics: “She gets too hungry for dinner at eight/She likes the theater and never comes late/She never bothers with people she'd hate/That's why the lady is a tramp …”
Hey, it’s Fran Lebowitz. –Not writing, for once.
Fran Lebowitz is a humor writer who has written for Mademoiselle and published several books of essays. She is eminently quotable, e.g., “Success didn’t spoil me. I’ve always been insufferable.” She is also infamous for her long-unfinished novel, Exterior Signs of Wealth, which at this point is about thirty years past its deadline due to a years-long case of writer's block.
Well, they’re trying to spice up this production of Saint Joan, and it’s just not workin’.
Saint Joan is a play, first performed in 1923, about the life of Joan of Arc, the young peasant girl who led the French armies against the invading English and was burned at the stake for her pains. It was written by George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).
This is just the Pro-am. There’s four rounds over the weekend.
Pro-am is short for professional-amateur, meaning a competition (such as a golf tournament) that allows both professionals and amateurs to participate, or a collaboration between pros and amateurs within a particular scientific discipline, such as astronomy.
Sometimes … it’s hard … to be … a woman …
A line from the Tammy Wynette song “Stand By Your Man.” Sample lyrics: “Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman/Giving all your love to just one man/You'll have bad times/And he'll have good times/Doing things that you don't understand …”
Scenes cut from The Turning Point.
The Turning Point is a 1977 film starring Shirley MacLaine and Anne Bancroft as two former ballet rivals who meet again later in life.
Thank you! Thank you! Come and see me in Hello, Dolly! I'm fabulous!
An imitation of Carol Channing (1921-2019), an actress best known for her role as Dolly Gallagher Levi in the Jerry Herman musical Hello, Dolly!
Don’t talk about our son, Martha.
A reference to the Edward Albee play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Ah, the fun marriage of 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.
Timothy Busfield is an actor who is probably best known for playing Eliot Weston on the TV series thirtysomething (1987-1991).
Hey, look, it’s Timothy Busfield. Yeah, it is, it’s Timothy Busfield.
See previous note.
Okay, Jujubes it is. Come on, let’s go.
See above note.
A reference to a recurring skit on The Carol Burnett Show, in which Tim Conway’s character, Mr. Tudball, had a secretary named Mrs. Wiggins, which he always mispronounced as above.
Peaches en regalia!
"Peaches en Regalia" is the title of a Frank Zappa song. (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for this reference.)
Our next guest: Dagmar, ladies and gentlemen.
Dagmar (also known by the stage name Jennie Lewis; 1921-2001) was a model and actress who personified the “dumb blonde” in the 1940s and 1950s through frequent appearances on Texaco Star Theater and Broadway Open House, among others. The pointy chrome “bullets” that appeared on the fronts of many cars in the 1950s were dubbed “Dagmar bumpers,” presumably in tribute to the shape of her bra.
Me too. This’d turn k.d. lang hetero.
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.
He’s from Barcelona.
A running gag on the BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers (BBC2, 1975 and 1979). In the show, the character of Manuel is an earnest but frequently flustered and confused waiter. When he makes a mess of things, hotel owner Basil Fawlty explains, “He’s from Barcelona.”
Are you a good witch or a bad witch?
“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” is a line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
“Hey, Joe.” Where you going with that gun in your hand?
A reference to the Jimi Hendrix song “Hey Joe.” Sample lyrics: “Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand?/Hey Joe, I said where you goin' with that gun in your hand?/Alright. I'm goin down to shoot my old lady/You know I caught her messin' 'round with another man.”
Meanwhile, Audrey Hepburn was making Roman Holiday.
Roman Holiday is a 1953 movie starring Audrey Hepburn as a princess who runs away to Rome and meets up with an American reporter (played by Gregory Peck). Hepburn won an Academy Award for her performance.
An imitation of Miss Jane Hathaway, Mr. Drysdale’s loyal secretary on the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies, which aired from 1962-1971. The role was played by Nancy Kulp.
You know Peaches’ bikini sold at Sotheby’s for fifty thousand dollars?
Sotheby’s is an international auction house founded in 1744. Along with Christie’s, it is one of the dominant forces of the industry, auctioning fine art, antiques, rare books, etc.
"You'd better not." Baravelli?
Baravelli is the name of Chico Marx's character in the 1932 Marx Brothers film Horse Feathers. (Thanks to Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
He’s got a Hal Linden look.
Hal Linden is an actor best known for his portrayal of Barney Miller on the TV series of the same name, which ran from 1975-1982.
You know, when Ed Wood saw this it was like when Truffaut saw Citizen Kane.
Ed Wood Jr. (1924-1978) was a legendarily bad film director; several of his movies were made into MST3K episodes, including Show 613, The Sinister Urge, and Show 423, Bride of the Monster. Francois Truffaut is a respected French filmmaker whose love of Orson Welles’ movie Citizen Kane is well known. In an interview, he said, “When I first saw Citizen Kane, I was certain that never in my life had I loved a person the way I loved that film.” According to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Wiki, “… it is suspected Ed Wood did have a hand in the film (Racket Girls), as writer and/or director. Producer George Weiss produced some of Wood’s films, Timothy Farrell appeared in several of Wood’s films, and the writing and direction were strongly similar to Wood’s. Ruby is even wearing an angora sweater; angora was one of Wood’s fetishes. Robert C. Dertano is credited with the directing credit, while no one was given a screenplay credit. Rather, Weiss ‘suggested’ the story.”
Prelude to the afternoon of a hot faun.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is an orchestral piece by French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
Well, Heidi’s all grown up!
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.
Okay, Schmeling’s gonna hit you hard.
Max Schmeling (1905-2005) was a German boxer who fought Black American boxer Joe Louis twice, matches that carried extra resonance because they took place during the Nazi era, with all its crackpot theories about racial superiority. Schmeling won the first fight and lost the second, much to the embarrassment of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Ciao, Laverne. –Ciao, Shirley.
A reference to Laverne and Shirley, a TV sitcom that aired from 1976-1983; it starred Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams.
Where’s Benny Hill when you need him, huh?
Benny Hill (1924/25-1992) was a chubby English comedian whose skit comedy show (unimaginatively dubbed The Benny Hill Show) reigned on British television for 20 years, beginning in 1969. The series was characterized by risque humor of the burlesque-show variety, high-speed chases, and lots of curvaceous women in skimpy bikinis.
Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) is widely considered one of the greatest comedians of all time. He made his mark in the silent film era, in his persona as the Little Tramp. He appeared in numerous short films before starring in a string of feature films. He made some “talkies” after sound was introduced, but it is his silent comedy routines that earned him immortality. “Chaplin Speaks!” is the title of a brief newsreel feature about Chaplin’s arrival in Vienna, Austria, so-called because he says his first words ever on film: “Guten tag.”
Real nice Brahms playing on the car radio there.
Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was a German Romantic composer, known for his symphonies and songs.
Hey, why don’t we do it in the road? No one will be watching us.
A reference to the Beatles song “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” Sample lyrics: “Why don't we do it in the road?/Why don't we do it in the road?/Why don't we do it in the road?/Why don't we do it in the road?/No one will be watching us/Why don't we do it in the road?”
Yes, it’s the annual running of the breasts.
Every year in Pamplona, Spain, between July 7 and 14, the “running of the bulls” is held, in which people and bulls run a marked-off course through the town. Deaths are relatively rare, but injuries are not.
Late last night or the night before, twenty-four robbers came knocking at my door …
A jump rope chant popular during the 1980s. The full rhyme: “Not last night but the night before/Twenty-four robbers came knocking at my door/I went downstairs to let them in/And this is what they said to me/[Name, name], turn around/[Name, name], touch the ground.”
Hey, you catch The Life of Riley last night? Pretty good.
The Life of Riley was originally (1943-1951) a radio show about a blue-collar worker in the Los Angeles suburbs. In 1949 the show was turned into a TV sitcom starring Jackie Gleason, but only lasted one season. The network tried again in 1953 with a new version starring William Bendix; this show was more successful, airing until 1955.
Hi, we’re here to do Greater Tuna.
Greater Tuna is a longtime political satire theater show that has been running for more than 20 years; its two-man cast satirizes life in an ultraconservative Texas town.
[Sung.] Radio Free Europe …
A line from the R.E.M. song "Radio Free Europe," from their debut album Murmur. (Thanks to Jenny Ashford for this reference.)
“We’ll be seeing you.” In all the familiar pl—well, you know.
A reference to the song “I’ll Be Seeing You,” which has been performed by Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra, among others. Sample lyrics: “I'll be seeing you/In all the old familiar places/That this heart of mine embraces/All day through.”
[Sung.] Let’s go back to Rockville …
“(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville” is a song by R.E.M., off their 1984 album Reckoning. Sample lyrics: “Walk home to an empty house, sit around all by yourself/I know it might sound strange, but I believe/You’ll be coming back before too long/Don’t go back to Rockville.”
Go discover Cher.
Sonny and Cher were a rock and roll duo in the 1960s and 1970s. They hit it big with “I Got You Babe” in 1965, and they also had a number of TV specials and series, including The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour. Their collaboration ended in 1974 with their divorce.
An imitation of radio newsman and commentator Paul Harvey (1918-2009), who was on the air more or less continuously from the 1930s until shortly before his death in 2009. He was known for his regular monologues, broadcast twice daily, as well as his “The Rest of the Story” segment, which focused on a person or event from American history.
Sounds like FDR’s announcing the eighth at Aqueduct.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (familiarly known as FDR; 1882-1945) served as president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. Aqueduct is a horse racing track in Queens.
Dice crafters. New dice in about an hour.
LensCrafters is a chain of eyeglass stores founded in 1983; it promises its clients that their glasses will be ready in “about an hour.”
Ah, even the mob obeys the Clean Air Act.
The Clean Air Act was passed by Congress in 1963 and was aimed at reducing smog and other forms of air pollution. As the backlash against smoking mounted, many states began passing Indoor Clean Air Act laws that banned smoking from workplaces and public spaces.
Clara Barton Hooks hits the waterfront.
Clara Barton (1821-1912) was an American nurse and social activist who is best remembered for having founded the American Red Cross in 1881, as a result of her experiences trying to get medical supplies to wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Not sure what the "Hooks" is about.
“I wanna talk to you.” About new Tide.
Tide is a brand of laundry detergent first introduced in 1943, when it quickly became the best-selling detergent in America. It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble.
I know Schneider.
Dwayne Schneider was the building superintendent on the TV sitcom One Day at a Time, which aired from 1975-1984. The part was played by Pat Harrington Jr.
Or I could go tell it on the mountain.
“Go Tell It on the Mountain” is an old American Black spiritual. Sample lyrics: “Go, tell it on the mountain/Over the hills and everywhere/Go, tell it on the mountain/That Jesus Christ is born.” In 1953 author James Baldwin published a novel by the same name, about a Black family in Harlem during the Depression.
This scene really needs Panavision.
Panavision is a California company that supplies high-end camera equipment to the motion picture industry. It was founded in 1953.
Hmm, let’s see: Tic Tac, old Kleenex, picture of my grandmother …
Tic Tacs are a brand of breath mints that come in a variety of flavors, including spearmint, orange, and cinnamon. Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue made by Kimberly-Clark. It was introduced in 1924.
Her lips are like wine.
“Your lips are like wine and I want to get drunk” is a cheesy old pickup line.
But first, I’ll read you The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s book written by Eric Carle, who has also written The Very Busy Spider and The Very Lonely Firefly.
“Hey, Joe.” I heard you shot your woman down.
See note on “Hey Joe,” above.
She crazy! She flip me over!
An impression of Manuel, the flustered Spanish waiter from Fawlty Towers. The character was played by Andrew Sachs.
Joe paved the way for Hervé Villechaize.
Hervé Villechaize (1943-1993) was an undersized actor who became famous for the line “De plane! De plane!” on the TV show Fantasy Island, which he appeared on from 1978-1983. He became depressed and worked very little after leaving the series, ultimately killing himself in 1993.
My pet rock.
Pet rocks were a fad in 1975, created by California advertising executive Gary Dahl. The “pets” came in a little box resembling a pet carrier and were accompanied by instructions for their care, complete with tricks you could teach it. The fad burned out after six months, but not before making Dahl a millionaire.
I get my partner Rusty. Hey, Rusty!
A Chico Marx imitation. Rusty was the name of Harpo Marx's character in the 1946 Marx Brothers movie A Night in Casablanca. (Thanks to Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
With champion stud chicken Man o’War.
Man o’War was a champion thoroughbred racehorse in 1919-1920. His racing career lasted sixteen months, during which time he won twenty out of his twenty-one races. In 1920 his owner retired him and put him out to stud. He eventually fathered nearly 400 horses, including one Kentucky Derby winner and one Triple Crown winner. He died in 1947 at the ripe old age of thirty.
Oh, Joe, you’ve returned!
An imitation of Mister Ed, the talking horse that starred in the sitcom of the same name, which aired from 1961-1966. The horse was played by a palomino named Bamboo Harvester; his voice was provided by Allan Lane.
Ooh, Professor Firefly!
An imitation of Margaret Dumont as Mrs. Teasdale in the 1933 Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup; Groucho played Professor Rufus T. Firefly.
Here at Futon Galleries, we’re having the best sale …
Possibly a reference to the now-closed Futon Gallery Furniture Warehouse in Minneapolis. A futon is a style of bedding consisting of a mattress and quilts pliable enough to be folded. A traditional Japanese futon would be folded and put away; American futons tend to be folded over a couch frame, thus doubling as daytime furniture. Being lightweight and inexpensive, futons are a popular choice for college students and budget-conscious young singles.
The Bob Hope entourage prepares for another USO tour.
Comedian Bob Hope (1903-2003) was well-known for his military performances for the United Services Organization, a tradition that began in World War II and continued through Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf. In 1997 Congress made Hope an “honorary veteran” in recognition of his efforts to support the troops over the years.
If Russ Meyer had directed Clare Boothe Luce’s The Women.
Russ Meyer (1922-2004) was a movie director who made a string of films in the 1960s and 1970s featuring women with extremely large breasts. His films include Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (generally acknowledged to be his masterpiece) and Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987) was a social activist and playwright; her 1936 play The Women, about the empty lives of well-to-do divorcees, was a huge hit.
If you thought Eunice Kennedy Shriver wasn’t sexy …
Eunice Kennedy (1921-2009) was the younger sister of President John F. Kennedy. In 1953 she married Sargent Shriver, who was the Democratic vice presidential candidate in the 1972 election. Maria Shriver, the television journalist and ex-wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is her daughter.
Play-Doh is a soft, non-toxic modeling clay marketed by Hasbro. It comes in various colors and has a wide range of accessories to help you make food, bugs, body parts, and so forth.
I need my Tagamet!
Tagamet is an over-the-counter brand of heartburn medication.
I’m Bonnie Bedelia.
Bonnie Bedelia is an actress best known for playing Bruce Willis's hostage-prone wife in the first two Die Hard movies.
It’s either that or Amway.
Amway is a multilevel direct marketing company that was founded in 1959. Over the decades, the group has been accused of being a pyramid scheme and many cases went to court around the world, but none proved successful, though in 2010 Amway settled a class action lawsuit in California, without admitting wrongdoing, for $56 million. In many media portrayals, Amway is depicted as being cultlike and their agents as annoying and fanatical.
Miss Manners, in Personal Best.
“Miss Manners” is a syndicated etiquette advice column written by Judith Martin. It was first published in 1978. Personal Best is a 1982 film about a group of women trying to qualify for the U.S. Olympic track-and-field team.
Ooh, Peaches & Herb.
Peaches & Herb was a singing duo that made it big in the 1960s and again in the late 1970s/early '80s (with a different Peaches) with songs like "Love Is Strange" and their mega-hit "Shake Your Groove Thing."
I’d rather see Bob Hoskins in that sweater.
Bob Hoskins (1942-2014) was a portly British actor who got his start playing Cockney toughs in films like Mona Lisa (1986) and later switched to playing lighter roles, such as the detective Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).
Calvin Coolidge, referee.
Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933) was the thirtieth president of the United States, from 1923-1929. He succeeded to the post after Warren G. Harding died in office. He was known as Silent Cal for his laconic manner of speaking.
It’s Sean Young, after another part.
Actress Sean Young is best known for her roles in Blade Runner (1982) and No Way Out (1987). She had a very public feud with her ex-boyfriend James Woods in 1988, when Woods took Young to court for allegedly harassing him, and her career has languished since then. In her enthusiasm to win the part of Catwoman in the 1992 Batman sequel Batman Returns, Young showed up uninvited on the Warner Brothers lot wearing a homemade Catwoman costume and attempted to confront director Tim Burton. The part went to Michelle Pfeiffer.
Alf Landon, ladies and gentlemen.
Alfred “Alf” Landon (1887-1987) was an American politician, a Republican who was governor of Kansas from 1933-1937. He ran for president in 1936 but was defeated in a landslide by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Their hands are so nice and smooth you can't tell which one is the mother.
A series of TV commercials in the early 1960’s for Ivory Liquid dish soap featured a mother and daughter who, the narrator explains, are constantly mistaken for sisters, since the mother’s hands are so young looking—thanks to Ivory Liquid.
Okay, we’re gonna meet back here and go to Chili’s, right?
Chili’s Grill & Bar is a chain of casual dining restaurants with a Southwest American theme, offering fajitas, ribs, burgers, etc. Founded in Texas in 1975, the chain has over 1,600 locations in 32 countries.
[Sung.] What’s new, pussycat?
A line from the Tom Jones song “What’s New Pussycat?” Sample lyrics: “What's new pussycat? Whoa-oh, whoa-oh/Pussycat, pussycat/I've got flowers/And lots of hours/To spend with you.” It was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David as the theme song for a Peter Sellers film, but has become much more famous than the movie.
Oh, Kathy and Mo split up.
Comedians and actresses Kathy Najimy (Sister Act) and Mo Gaffney (That '70s Show) wrote and starred in two off-Broadway shows, The Kathy and Mo Show: Parallel Lives, and The Kathy and Mo Show: The Dark Side; both shows won Obie Awards (the off-Broadway equivalent of Tony Awards).
Cut off from the royal treasury, Princess Anne and Princess Margaret are forced to earn their keep.
Both members of the royal family of Great Britain. Princess Anne is the only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, the younger sister of Prince Charles. Princess Margaret (1930-2002) was the younger sister of Elizabeth and the daughter of King George VI.
Women on the verge of a three-point takedown.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is a 1988 film by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, about a Spanish actress who is trying to track down her unfaithful boyfriend.
I don’t like the new Models Inc. plot line.
Models Inc. was a short-lived 1994 TV series, a spinoff of prime-time soap Melrose Place, about a Los Angeles modeling agency.
Womanix! –[Sung.] Theme from Mannix.
A take on Mannix, a television series starring Mike Connors (1925-2017) as Joe Mannix, a private eye in Los Angeles who indulged in frequent car chases, shootouts, and fistfights. It aired from 1967-1975. Mike Connors (under the name “Touch Connors”) appeared in Show 503, Swamp Diamonds. The Mannix opening credits featured a fast-paced, split-screen montage of the above-mentioned chases and fisticuffs, over a theme song composed by Lalo Schifrin in triple time, unusual for a TV theme. (Thanks to Monique Berger for this reference.)
Strictly Ballroom 2.
Strictly Ballroom is a 1992 film about an Australian ballroom dance competition.
Yes! 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 (see above note).
The charming Zoe Caldwell, ladies and gentlemen. Zoe Caldwell.
Zoe Caldwell is an Australian actress who was one of the founding members of the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, where she appeared in many productions; she has also enjoyed a successful Broadway career. (Thanks to Christopher Buckey for this reference.)
Well, I’ll see what Lucy and Ethel are up to.
A reference to the television show I Love Lucy, which aired from 1951-1957. In a typical episode, Lucy Ricardo (played by Lucille Ball) and Ethel Mertz (played by Vivian Vance) would get themselves hopelessly entangled in some hairbrained scheme to satisfy Lucy’s lust for fame and showbiz.
What is that, Playskool’s My First Desk?
Playskool is a brand of children’s toys manufactured by Hasbro, aimed at children under five. They include a lot of playacting toys, like toy vacuum cleaners, flashlights, and lawnmowers.
William Frawley, best known as Fred Mertz on the pioneering TV sitcom I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957), also played gruff-but-lovable grandfather “Bub” in the early seasons of another sitcom, My Three Sons (ABC/CBS, 1960-1972). The guy in this scene looks just like him.
It’s a coupon for a Happy Meal.
A Happy Meal is a children’s meal offered by the fast-food burger chain McDonald’s, consisting usually of a burger, fries, a drink and a toy. It was introduced in 1979.
I do a talking blues that’s pretty good.
The talking blues is a style of blues music that originated in the early 20th century, usually consisting of a repetitive guitar line with the musician speaking rhythmically over it. Woody Guthrie was well known for his talking blues.
These are just the compulsories, so …
The sport of gymnastics has two levels: compulsory and optional. Compulsory gymnastics involves specific routines that the gymnast must learn and perform exactly as given. Optional gymnastics allows the gymnast to put together a routine that plays to their strengths, and can be accompanied by music of their choice.
I’d rather see Golda Meir in that getup!
Golda Meir (1898-1978) was one of the founders of the state of Israel and in 1969 became its first (and thus far only) female prime minister.
It’s like a stag film produced by the League of Women Voters.
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political group that was founded in 1920, shortly before women earned the right to vote with the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It was originally formed as a women-only organization to help women exercise their newfound civic rights, but starting in 1973 the group included men as well.
Treat Williams is an actor who got his big break in the 1979 film Hair; he has also appeared in such films as 1941 and Prince of the City.
This film awakened Eleanor Roosevelt’s sexuality.
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt and served as first lady of the United States from 1933 until her husband’s death in 1945. There has been some question about her sexual identity over the years; although she and her husband clearly had a sexual relationship, given that they had six children together, she had a very close friendship with a reporter named Lorena Hickok, and some have argued that the relationship was a romantic one. There is also some evidence that she had at least one extramarital affair with a man. In short, the jury’s still out.
Hey, Ralphie boy!
An imitation of Art Carney as Ed Norton on the TV sitcom The Honeymooners, which aired from 1955-1956.
Yes, give generously to the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The U.S. Olympic Committee is a national organization that supports, approves, and enters U.S. athletes in the Olympics. The committee also participates in evaluating American cities as future hosts of the games.
Tastes great! –Less filling! –Stuffing! –Potatoes! –Lincoln! –Douglas!
“Tastes great, less filling” is an advertising slogan for Miller Lite beer that began in 1973 and ran for more than fifteen years. In early ads for Stove Top Stuffing, the tag line used was, “Stuffing or potatoes?” The Lincoln-Douglas debates were a series of debates held in 1858 between future president Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The two men were running for the same Senate seat from Illinois. Lincoln lost the election, but his stellar performance in the debates brought him national attention and launched the political career that would end in the White House.
She looks like a Romulan!
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.
There’s a little bit of Yogi Berra in her too.
Yogi Berra was a baseball player and longtime Yankees manager. Berra is one of the most quoted figures in sports, including “It’s déjà vu all over again” and “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
[Sung.] Ride along with me, Lucille ...
A paraphrased line from the popular 1905 song "In My Merry Oldsmobile," which the car company used as a commercial jingle for several decades. Actual lyrics: "Come away with me, Lucille/In my merry Oldsmobile/Down the road of life we'll fly/Automobubbling, you and I ..." (Thanks to Jeff Grindle for this reference.)
Pat Nixon (1912-1993) was the wife of disgraced President Richard Nixon, who resigned in 1974 after the Watergate scandal. During her tenure as First Lady, she took up volunteerism as her personal cause, much as fellow Republican First Lady Nancy Reagan would embrace the “Just Say No” campaign against drugs.
[Hummed.] Battle Hymn of the Republic.
“The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was traditionally President Abraham Lincoln’s favorite song. Sample lyrics: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord/He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored/He hath loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword/His truth is marching on…” The song was written by Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910).
Zelda Gilroy was a character on the TV sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, which aired from 1959-1963. Played by Sheila James Kuehl, Zelda was constantly scheming to win Dobie's heart. (Thanks to Heather Barrett for this reference.)
Tonight at the Corn Palace, five-time winner Sawyer Brown!
The Corn Palace is a tourist trap in Mitchell, South Dakota: a grandiose building complete with minarets, which boasts a series of murals made from corn and other grains. Sawyer Brown is a country-western band known for such hits as “The Walk” and “All These Years.”
“[Ding, ding …]” Regular or unleaded, ma’am?
Before unleaded gasoline became the standard, gas station customers had to specify which type of gas they wanted. And back in the old days (sit down, kids, this may take a while), gas stations were not self-serve. A rubber hose laid across the ground in front of the pumps rang a bell when a car rolled over it, and an actual person would come pump the gas for you. In the really old days, they would also wash your windshield, check your oil and tires, and do other minor auto maintenance. That was why they were called “service stations” instead of “gas stations.” In Oregon and New Jersey, the two states in the U.S. that do not allow self-serve gas stations, attendants still exist, though service is minimal, and they are still alerted by a bell activated by a rubber hose.
“Clara …” Peller!
Clara Peller (1902-1987) was an elderly actress in the 1980s who starred in a famous series of advertisements for the fast food chain Wendy’s, in which she repeatedly asked, “Where’s the beef?”—a question that quickly became a catchphrase. Peller died in 1987.
I thought we were meeting at Chi-Chi’s. –No, I thought we said Chili’s. Are you mad? You’re mad. –No, no, no, it’s just that … –Let’s talk about it tonight at Zantigo. I’ll drive.
Chi-Chi’s is a chain of inexpensive Mexican restaurants. The first location opened in Minneapolis in 1976; there are no restaurants in North America any longer, but there are still some locations overseas. Chili’s Grill & Bar is a chain of casual dining restaurants with a Southwest American theme, offering fajitas, ribs, burgers, etc. Founded in Texas in 1975, the chain has over 1,600 locations in 32 countries. Zantigo is a chain of fast-food Mexican restaurants located mainly in the Midwest; Taco Bell acquired the chain in 1986 and converted the locations to Taco Bells. However, in the 1990s some former Zantigo managers opened a small chain of restaurants in the Minneapolis area also named Zantigo, currently with a handful of locations.
Aaaahh! It’s Iggy Pop!
Iggy Pop is widely considered the godfather of the punk movement due to his work with seminal 1970s band The Stooges. After that band broke up, he struck out on a solo career.
She’s too mannish for Alice B. Toklas!
Alice B. Toklas (1877-1967) was the companion and lesbian lover of writer/critic Gertrude Stein. The pair met in 1907 and stayed together until Stein’s death in 1946. Stein titled her 1933 memoirs The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.
Ladies and gentlemen, I cannot condone women wrestling. I would be prevaricating if I said it was a valid sport.
An imitation of veteran sportscaster Howard Cosell (1918-1995). Cosell was the commentator on the TV show Monday Night Football from 1970-1983, when he left television sportscasting, calling pro football “a stagnant bore.”
A reference to Show 521, Santa Claus.
Boy, if ever a movie needed El Santo …
Masked Man El Santo (or Samson, as he is known in the English versions of his films) was a wildly popular Mexican wrestler in the 1960s who starred in a series of movies in which he bravely wrestled various incarnations of evil into submission. He can be seen in Show 624, Samson vs. the Vampire Women. He died of a heart attack in 1984 and was buried in his mask.
“Cool” is a song from the 1957 Broadway musical and 1961 movie West Side Story, written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. Sample lyrics: “Boy, boy, crazy boy,/Get cool, boy!/Got a rocket in your pocket,/Keep coolly cool, boy!”
Gilda Radner and Carol Leifer in a grudge match.
Gilda Radner (1946-1989) was a comedian who was part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live. She remained with the show for five seasons. She died at the age of 42 from ovarian cancer. Carol Leifer is a standup comedian who has starred in a series of specials on cable television in addition to numerous appearances on David Letterman and other late-night talk shows.
[Sung.] Rollercoaster of love …
A line from the 1975 song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players. In the song, there can be heard a high-pitched scream. An urban legend arose that this was the actual death knell of a woman killed in-studio, or perhaps in an alley outside the studio. It was, in fact, keyboardist Billy Beck (who did not die either), but the rumors gave the song buzz and even boosted airplay and sales, so the band didn’t deny them until many years later. 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.”
[Sung.] Lady wrestlers, my love is …
A paraphrase of the Lou Rawls song "Lady Love." Actual lyrics: "Lady love, your love is peaceful like the summer's breeze/My lady love, with love that's tender as a baby's touch ..." (Thanks to Shari Myers for this reference.)
Lou Rawls. Lady Love.
See previous note.
This is the pilot for the Better Sex videos.
The Better Sex video series is an adult how-to series produced by the Sinclair Intimacy Institute and advertised heavily on late-night TV.
Tony Orlando and Dawn in their most provocative show ever.
Tony Orlando and Dawn was a pop music group popular during the early 1970s, with such hits as “Knock Three Times” and “Tie a Yellow Ribbon.” From 1974-1976 the group had its own eponymous TV show, which was a mix of music and comedy similar to Sonny and Cher’s TV show.
I don’t think Rita has any idea how to do the Heimlich.
The Heimlich maneuver is a technique for saving a choking person by dislodging the object that is blocking their airways. It was pioneered in 1974 by American physician Henry Heimlich, although in 2003 Heimlich’s colleague Edward Patrick claimed it was actually he who developed the maneuver.
The Beatles! Aaahh! Aaahh!
See note on the Beatles, above.
There can be only one!
“There can be only one!” is a famous line from the 1986 movie Highlander.
You know, there’s thousands of Clara’s Army who show up for every match? –Yeah, they camp out at Ticketron outlets to get tickets to each match.
Ticketron was a computerized ticketing service for concerts and sporting events and the like. Billed as an “electronic box office,” Ticketron terminals were located in department stores and banks, and insured that a given seat for an event couldn’t be sold more than once. It was owned by Control Data Corporation from 1969 to 1990, and was sold to Ticketmaster in 1991.
And George Will reveres this sport?
George F. Will is a syndicated newspaper columnist of a conservative bent. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. He also appears as a political commentator on ABC. Will is also an avid fan of baseball, making frequent baseball references and analogies in his columns, and has written two bestselling books about the sport.
This is where Forrest Gump shows up.
Forrest Gump is a 1994 movie starring Tom Hanks as a man with less-than-average intelligence who happens to be present at many of the great moments in recent history.
Ah, Harry Dean Stanton.
Harry Dean Stanton (1926-2017) was a character actor who appeared in such films as Alien (1979) and Repo Man (1984).
Does this bug you? Does this bug you, huh? Does this bug you?
“Does this bug you? I’m not touching you” is an often heard MST3K catchphrase with possible origins in something U2 lead singer Bono said in the 1988 concert film Rattle and Hum: “Am I bugging you? I don’t mean to bug ya.” Or it's just a reference to the timeless sibling torment of almost, but not quite, touching, tickling, or punching another sibling, and when a complaint is made, saying "What? I'm not touching you!"
I think they’re gonna wrap it up. They don’t want to miss Regis and Kathie Lee.
Live! with Regis & Kathie Lee was a long-running morning talk show hosted by Regis Philbin (1931-2020) and Kathie Lee Gifford; it aired from 1988-2000, when Gifford left the show and was replaced by Kelly Ripa. The show then became Live with Regis and Kelly. Philbin retired in 2011.
Max von Sydow! –Where?
Max von Sydow (1929-2020) was a Swedish actor best known for his work in Ingmar Bergman films, including The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries (both 1957). In American cinema, he is most widely recognized for his role as Jesus in the 1965 film The Greatest Story Ever Told and as Father Merrin in The Exorcist (1973)—and, among a certain crowd, as Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon (1980). In later years he appeared in Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens and the HBO series Game of Thrones.
So, 6:30 at Zantigo’s, right?
See note on Zantigo, above.
Andy, did you hear about Elvis?
A reference to the R.E.M. song “Man on the Moon.” Sample lyrics: “Hey, Andy, did you hear about this one?/Tell me, are you locked in the punch?/Hey, Andy, are you goofing on Elvis?/Hey, baby, are we losing touch?”
This is like an infomercial for Doan’s Pills.
Doan’s Pills are a brand of pain reliever that purport to relieve back pain. They are manufactured by Ciba-Geigy.
The Tilt-a-Whirl is a venerable carnival ride first produced in 1926. It is made by Sellner Manufacturing of Minnesota.
I don’t think I much like the new Star Search category.
Star Search was a TV talent show hosted by Ed McMahon, in which aspiring celebrities competed for their shot at the big time. Contestants often went on to actual show-biz careers, including Dennis Miller, Britney Spears, Rosie O’Donnell, and LeAnn Rimes. It ran from 1983-1995.
Yeah, she’s got kind of a Pernell Roberts strut. –She could take Pernell. –Oh, yeah.
Pernell Roberts (1928-2010 was an actor known for his role as Adam, the eldest Cartwright brother, on the TV series Bonanza, a part he played for six seasons. He also starred in the TV series Trapper John M.D. (1979-1986). Roberts can be seen in Show 614, San Francisco International.
We’re still on for Zantigo’s, right?
See note on Zantigo, above.
[Sung.] Gold and silver shiiiii-i-i-hine.
A line from the 1991 song “Shiny Happy People” by the band R.E.M., featuring lead vocals by Kate Pierson of the band The B-52's. Sample lyrics: “Take it into town, happy, happy/Put it in the ground where the flowers grow/Gold and silver shine/Shiny happy people holding hands.”
This director has out-Wooded Ed Wood.
See note on Ed Wood, above.
“Do you know any bookmakers, Mr. Scalli?” Well, Simon and Schuster, Houghton Mifflin …
Simon and Schuster and Houghton Mifflin are both large book publishing houses.
Gregory Peck (1916-2003) was an actor who appeared in such films as To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and Roman Holiday (1953).
And you’ll be appearing at the Westward Ho next weekend, is that right? Thanks again, Scalli, bye-bye.
The Westward Ho was a casino and hotel in Las Vegas. It opened in 1963 and operated for 42 years before closing in 2005.
Joe was the Brian Benben of his day.
Brian Benben is an actor best known for his lead role on the HBO series Dream On. Ostensibly a comedy, the show was largely an excuse to showcase a series of attractive guest stars having sex with Benben.
All right, stand in the place where you live.
A line from the R.E.M. song “Stand.” Sample lyrics: “Stand in the place where you live/Now face north/Think about direction/Wonder why you haven't before …”
[Sung.] Strut, pout, put it out, that’s what you want from grandma …
A reference to the Sheena Easton song “Strut.” Sample lyrics: “Strut, pout, put it out/That's what you want from women/Come on baby, what'cha taking me for/Strut, pout, cut it out/All taking and no giving/Watch me baby, while I walk out the door.”
See? I knew it was in Ephesians.
Epistle to the Ephesians is one of the books of the New Testament. It is a letter written by St. Paul the Apostle sometime around 63 C.E. to the members of the Christian church at Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey).
Give my sport coat to Al Pacino.
Al Pacino is one of the most respected leading men in Hollywood, known for his roles in such classic films as The Godfather and Serpico.
This is Quentin Tarantino’s most shocking film.
Quentin Tarantino is a bad-boy film director who made it big with his hugely influential 1994 film Pulp Fiction; for a while there, you couldn’t swing a stick in Hollywood without hitting a non-linear story line stuffed with pop culture references and episodes of appalling violence.
The mob squad.
The Mod Squad was a TV series about three hip young police narks (played by Peggy Lipton, Clarence Williams III, and Michael Cole). It aired from 1968-1973.
Have you been noticing many odd occurrences lately? Oh, it’s true.
A reference to Show 603, The Dead Talk Back (according to Satellite News).
Hey, Tin Machine! –Yeah!
Tin Machine was a rock band founded in 1988 by successful solo artist David Bowie. It performed for four years and released two albums before breaking up in 1992; Bowie returned to his solo career thereafter.
And at night the town of Minocqua comes alive with entertainment, recreation and great food.
Minocqua is a resort town located in northern Wisconsin.
They shouldn’t have let Eric Rohmer direct a high-speed chase sequence.
Eric Rohmer (1920-2010) was a French New Wave film director known for such works as My Night at Maud’s (1969) and Claire’s Knee (1970).
I’m dyin’ in a rush!
A reference to Show 615, Kitten with a Whip.
Must be the same magic bullet that got Connally.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated during a motorcade in Dallas, while riding in a car with then-Texas Governor John Connally. The Warren Commission that investigated the assassination determined that a single bullet struck Kennedy in the back and exited through his throat before hitting Connally in the back; it then exited through Connally’s chest and broke his right wrist before lodging shallowly in his thigh. Conspiracy theorists have referred to this sarcastically as the “magic bullet” theory, arguing that the bullet, which was recovered at the hospital, could not appear nearly as pristine as it did if it had caused all that damage. They use this to bolster their argument that there was more than one shooter at Dealey Plaza that day.
Packed with cops, this movie really satisfies.
During the 1980s, Snickers candy bars ran a series of commercials with the tag line, "Packed with peanuts, Snickers really satisfies." (Thanks to Sitting Duck for this reference.)
It’s Herbie the cop car!
Herbie is the name of a lovable VW bug that starred in a series of four movies, starting with the 1968 film The Love Bug.
I think these shots were rejected from Monster A-Go Go.
A reference to Show 421, Monster A-Go Go.
I told you we shouldn’t have TPed that house.
A popular American prank, especially around Halloween, is to throw multiple rolls of toilet paper over someone’s house and/or the trees in their yard in the middle of the night, so they wake up the next morning to a fluttery, papery mess.
Maybe they’re here in the natatorium, sir.
A natatorium is a building that houses a swimming pool. The University of Wisconsin at Madison—Kevin Murphy’s alma mater—has a natatorium in a brick building. Alert reader “sambsonwayfinder” thought Tom was saying “mandatorium,” in which case MST3K may have coined that word, which has since appeared in an episode of Futurama and in various blogs and stories.
Wait! Through the wardrobe!
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fantasy novel for children by C.S. Lewis. The first in the Chronicles of Narnia series, it was published in 1950. It is a book about four children who crawl into a wardrobe and find themselves in another world.
Oh, no! That’s us in the corner! That’s us in the spotlight!
A reference to the R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion.” Sample lyrics: “That's me in the corner/That's me in the spotlight/Losing my religion/Trying to keep up with you/And I don't know if I can do it …”
This is the sequence John Woo directed.
John Woo is a Hong Kong film director known for balletic scenes of extreme violence in such films as The Killer (1989).
What a powerful ending! This movie was the Jaws of its day. People were afraid to go to ladies’ wrestling.
When the shark-attack movie Jaws came out in 1975, it created an atmosphere of mass hysteria about sharks. Many people who saw the movie refused to go in the ocean for years afterward. Unfortunately, the movie also inspired some people to go out and kill the sharks before the sharks could kill them—this despite the fact that shark attacks are actually relatively rare. Peter Benchley, who wrote the book on which the film was based, later became active in the shark preservation movement, working to educate people about sharks worldwide.