Look—Hired II: Electric Boogaloo.
Breakin’ II: Electric Boogaloo is a 1984 film about local breakdancers trying to stop a developer from tearing down their community center.
Give ‘em hell, Harry.
“Give ‘em hell, Harry” was President Harry S. Truman’s reelection campaign slogan in 1948. As legend would have it, he was giving a speech when someone in the crowd yelled out, “Give ‘em hell, Harry!” Truman supposedly replied, “I don’t give anybody hell. I give ‘em the truth and they think it’s hell!”
[Sung.] I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder …
A line from the Del Shannon song “Runaway.” Sample lyrics: “I wonder/I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder/Why, why-why-why-why-why she ran away …”
Meanwhile, Eliot Ness and his Untouchables head for a speakeasy in Berwyn.
Eliot Ness was a law enforcement operative for the Department of Justice in the 1920s. Heading up a special nine-man team known as the Untouchables for their legendary incorruptibility, he led a series of raids that ultimately helped shut down Al Capone’s mob rule in Chicago. Berwyn is a suburb of Chicago. The comment is delivered in the style of Walter Winchell, one of the narrators of the Untouchables TV show. (Thanks to Mike Dumas for pointing out the Winchell reference.)
Oh, they’re meeting with Floyd the barber.
Floyd Lawson was the name of the barber on The Andy Griffith Show, which ran from 1960-1968. The part was played by Howard McNear.
But, ma’am, do you know that Chevrolet has a wonderful plan for your life?
Bill Bright, the founder of the Campus Crusade for Christ, wrote “Four Spiritual Laws” on which his “crusade” is based, of which the first reads “God loves you, and offers a wonderful plan for your life.”
Are you now, or have you ever been, a Ford owner?
“Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?” was how the House Un-American Activities Committee opened its interrogation of witnesses during the Red Scare of the 1950s.
Adlai Stevenson buys a car.
Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) was the twice-unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee during the 1950s. He later served as the U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
An imitation of comedian Jimmy Durante, whose “Inka Dinka Doo” was one of his most famous songs.
Fifth! “Third.” Oh, right, third!
A reference to a scene in the 1974 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which King Arthur has difficulty counting to three. The exchange:
Arthur: Right! One ... two ... five!
Galahad: Three, sir!
It’s Dr. Giggles!
Dr. Giggles is a 1992 horror flick about a homicidal maniac bent on avenging his mass-murdering doctor father.
Like father, like son. Think about it, won't you?
Reader Erik Topp says this is the tagline to the public service announcement "Like Father, Like Son," which ran from 1967-1982.
Visit beautiful ground zero.
The term “ground zero” refers to the point of detonation of a nuclear weapon; many people also use it to refer to Hiroshima, Japan, the site of the first nuclear bombing.
Hey! Poodle bites, poodle chews.
A reference to Frank Zappa's song "Dirty Love."
Cousin Itt was a character in the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966; Itt was completely covered in long hair and spoke in an unintelligible squeak. The part was played by little person actor Felix Silla.
Let’s sing something from Pearl Jam.
Pearl Jam was one of the most successful alternative rock bands of the 1990s, first bursting onto the scene with their 1991 album Ten.
[Sung.] Row, row, row your boat/Gently down the stream … C’mon, sing, sing, sing, damn it, sing.
A reference to a scene in Dirty Harry, in which the crazed killer takes over a school bus and forces the children to sing. (Thanks to Mike Dumas for spotting this reference.)
Our Man from U.N.C.L.E. will return after this.
Our Man Flint is a brilliant 1966 tongue-in-cheek spy movie starring the immortal James Coburn as super-spy Derek Flint. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a TV series that aired from 1964-1968. The tongue-in-cheek spy series starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, the top agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, who battled the evil forces of the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, or THRUSH.
Slug bug! –Ow!
A reference to Punch Bug, the classic road game designed to keep kids amused on long car trips: the first child to spot a Volkswagen Bug and shout out “Punch bug!” or “Punch buggy!” (there are a number of variants) gets to punch the other kids in the car.
What is he, Jeffrey Zaslow?
Jeffrey Zaslow is an advice columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Pigs, lies, and videotape.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape is a 1989 film by Steven Soderbergh about a young man who can only relate to women by videotaping them talking about their sex lives.
Joel, this is going to turn into a snuff film.
Snuff films, an urban legend, are purportedly movies in which one or more persons are actually killed on film. The legend dates back to a film called Snuff, released in 1976, which tacked an ending of an actress supposedly being killed onto a 1971 horror film called Slaughter; producer Allan Shackleton attempted to arouse interest in the cheaply made film by implying that the deaths in it were real. People everywhere bought into the hype, although the legal system forced Shackleton to add a disclaimer to the film stating that no one had been harmed during the making of the movie. By that point, however, the legend had taken on a life of its own. Even today, anti-pornography crusaders cite snuff films as the ultimate example of male oppression and exploitation of women, despite a complete lack of evidence for their existence.
Hey, let’s just pretend we’re watching Trip to Bountiful.
The Trip to Bountiful is a 1985 film starring Geraldine Page as an old woman trying to return home to the town she grew up in.
I guess they picked up Shirley Bassey hitchhiking.
Shirley Bassey is a Welsh torch singer best known for her brassy rendition of the theme to the James Bond film Goldfinger (1964).
Does anybody have any Dramamine?
Dramamine is an over-the-counter anti-nausea medicine used to combat motion sickness. It is manufactured by Pfizer.
[Sung.] It’s Robin Stone, the love machine …
A reference to the 1971 film The Love Machine, starring John Phillip Law as perfectly awful TV newscaster Robin Stone. (MSTies will remember Law from Show 820, Space Mutiny, and Show 1013, Danger: Diabolik.) The theme was sung by Dionne Warwick.
Uh, Mr. Unser, we’re ready for you. Mr. Unser?
Probably a reference to race car driver Bobby Unser. Or it could be a reference to Al Unser or Al Unser Jr., both related to Bobby and both race car drivers themselves.
Go Speed Racer.
Speed Racer was a Japanese animated show that first aired in the United States in 1967. Speed himself was the teenage son of a car designer who, in addition to winning races, solved crimes and foiled supervillains.
So, Worcestershire, honey?
Worcestershire sauce is a British sauce of Indian origin, first concocted in the early 1800s.
Yes, it’s Hawaiian Tropic, for that savage love.
Hawaiian Tropic is a line of suntan products, including sunscreen, tanning lotion and so forth.
It sounds like Jerry Reed. Ick.
Jerry Reed is a country musician and actor known for such hits as “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and such films as Smokey and the Bandit.
Tastes like cherry Robitussin.
Robitussin is an over-the-counter cough syrup manufactured by Whitehall-Robins.
You are the driver. What would you do if this happened to you? Manos.
From faithful reader Erik Topp: "This is the narrative setup for scenarios in the video series accompanying the 'Drive Right' driver's education program. It has been inflicted on unsuspecting teens as a soporific since the late 1970s."
This isn’t Wacker Drive. We’re nowhere near Chicago. Honey!
Wacker Drive is a major thoroughfare in Chicago, Illinois. It is a double-tiered street, with Upper Wacker Drive meant for local traffic and Lower Wacker Drive for through traffic.
Look, can we drop off Tim Weisberg now?
Tim Weisberg is a flute player known for such albums as Twin Sons of Different Mothers.
Maybe it’s Brigadoon.
Brigadoon is a 1947 musical about a disappearing village in Scotland that only appears once every hundred years.
Shot on location in Spooner, Wisconsin.
Spooner is a town in the northwest corner of Wisconsin. Population: about 2,500.
Tom Cruise is Dr. John.
Tom Cruise is one of the leading Hollywood hunks, a leading man who has appeared in such films as Top Gun (1986) and The Firm (1993). "Dr. John" is a reference to musician Mac Rebennack, who has performed on and off since the late 1960s as Dr. John the Night Tripper;his best known composition is "Right Place, Wrong Time." (Thanks to RMF for the Dr. John reference.)
You two stay with the nice man. I’m gonna go find a Ramada.
Ramada is a chain of hotels with more than a thousand locations worldwide.
The master? Bobby Fischer?
Bobby Fischer is considered by many to be the best chess player of all time. At the age of 15, he was the youngest grandmaster in the history of chess, and in 1972, he became the first American to win the world championship of chess.
“The Master doesn’t like children.” Oh, he’s W.C. Fields.
Comedian W.C. Fields’ curmudgeonly persona included a legendary hatred of children, about whom he once said, “I like children—fried” and “I never met a kid I liked.”
What is this, Final Jeopardy?
Final Jeopardy is the last round on the TV game show Jeopardy!, in which each contestant wagers a certain amount of money that they can answer the last question correctly.
Thy rod and thy staff discomfort me.
A paraphrase of a line from the 23rd Psalm of the Bible. The actual line: “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”
He’s the guy you used to know who works at a Kinney’s Shoes and won’t leave you alone.
Kinney’s shoe stores used to be widespread, but the chain is now defunct. (Thanks to Mike Dumas for correcting my spelling of Kinney's.)
You can vacation with Torgo, but don’t bring your American Express card.
In a series of commercials for Visa credit cards, viewers were warned that when visiting certain choice establishments, they shouldn’t bother to bring their American Express cards.
Uh, that’s not how you wear your Depends, Torgo.
Depend undergarments are a brand of adult incontinence products.
Been hitting the Thighmaster, Torgo?
The Thighmaster is a type of home exercise equipment that you squeeze between your thighs. It was famously advertised by Suzanne Somers.
It’s like having Joe Cocker as your bellhop.
Joe Cocker is a British soul singer who formed his Grease Band in 1966 and performed such hit songs as “Feelin’ Alright” and “Delta Lady.” Cocker reportedly spent most of the 1970s in an alcohol-induced stupor before scoring a comeback in 1983 with “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Jennifer Warnes that was included on the soundtrack for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. Cocker continued to record and tour throughout the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s.
Oh, look, honey—Torgo has a little altar to Ba’al.
Ba’al (or Baal) was a Canaanite fertility god worshiped by some Semitic peoples beginning around the fourteenth century B.C. Ba’al was the son of El, the supreme god of Canaan, and his death and rebirth were worshiped as part of the society’s fertility rituals.
I'm bemused by this plucky painting.
Possibly an imitation of Sister Wendy Beckett, a Carmelite hermit and art critic who hosted a series of art documentaries on the BBC in the 1990s. (Thanks to David Rose for this reference.)
It’s a Frank Frazetta of Frank Zappa.
Frank Frazetta is a comic-book artist and prolific cover-art painter, known for such works as his covers for Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter series. Frank Zappa was a musician and all-around wonderful human being; as Kevin Murphy put it in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, “He is one of my great heroes of American culture. … And God, was he ever funny. Sometimes embarrassingly preachy, but always calmly polemical, like an advocate for reason in a world gone mad and stupid. … But he was beautifully normal, and a brilliant rock-and-roll man, and I’ll miss him.”
Tonight on Night Gallery.
Night Gallery was an anthology horror series created by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame; each episode was illustrated in a painting seen at the beginning of the show. It ran from 1970-1973.
It’s Howlin’ Wolf! [Sung.] Gonna work that wang dang doodle all night long …
Chester Arthur Burnett, a.k.a. Howlin’ Wolf, is an extremely influential blues singer known for such songs as “Moanin’ at Midnight” and “Smokestack Lightning.” The song here is “Wang Dang Doodle.” Actual lyrics: “We gonna romp and tromp till midnight/We gonna fuss and fight till daylight/We gonna pitch a wang dang doodle all night long/All night long …”
Someone left a cake out in the rain!
“Macarthur Park” is a song that has been recorded by Frank Sinatra and Donna Summer, among others. Sample lyrics: “MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark/All the sweet, green icing flowing down.../Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don't think that I can take it/'cause it took so long to bake it/And I'll never have that recipe again …”
Sounds like Gene Krupa’s out here.
Gene Krupa was a jazz drummer credited with making drums a solo instrument in the big band sound.
“What could have done it?” Ozzy Osbourne?
Heavy metal musician Ozzy Osbourne once bit the head off a bat during a concert. He later claimed that he thought the bat—which had been thrown onstage by a fan—was a toy.
I got your Magic Fingers going.
Magic Fingers is a contraption that makes a bed vibrate and is a staple of low-budget motels everywhere.
What is he expecting? A big on-off switch?
An impression of comedian Jerry Seinfeld.
Van Gogh’s self-portrait. Really.
Vincent Van Gogh was a Dutch painter whose works became astoundingly popular after his death, fetching record amounts at auctions and featuring in touring exhibitions. He painted a number of self-portraits, of which the most famous is probably Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear.
[Sung.] I want a lover with a slow hand …
A paraphrase of a line from the Pointer Sisters song “Slow Hand.” Actual lyrics: “I want a man with a slow hand/I want a lover with an easy touch …”
Turn it off! Turn it off!
A line from the 1979 film Hardcore, starring George C. Scott as an American businessman who discovers that his daughter has been acting in porn films. The line is spoken by Scott while watching one of his daughter’s artistic efforts.
God, I look like Jack Klugman.
Jack Klugman is an actor best known for his portrayal of the slobbish Oscar on TV’s The Odd Couple, which aired from 1970-1975.
Oh, it’s Senator Packwood.
Oregon Senator Robert Packwood (b. 1932) served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1995. He resigned his office in 1995 after the Senate Select Committee on Ethics recommended his expulsion due to a series of explosive sexual harassment charges, in which more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from kissing to forceful groping.
She’s a Breck Girl.
The Breck Girl was an advertising icon for Breck shampoo, first appearing in 1937 and launching Breck’s first national advertising campaign in 1946. There were numerous Breck Girls over the years; actress Kim Basinger was even a Breck Girl early in her career.
Well, I must go cut off my left ear now.
On Christmas Eve 1888, Vincent Van Gogh (see above note) had a nervous breakdown and sliced off part of his own left ear with a razor. (A news story at the time claimed he delivered the ear to a local brothel and asked one of its employees to keep it for him, but this may be apocryphal.) He spent two weeks in a sanatorium recovering.
And I have my answer: I'm walking on air.
This is a paraphrased line spoken by the adulterous Elliot (Michael Caine) in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). The exact quote: “I have my answer. I have my answer: I’m walking on air.”
“The nearest phone is at the crossroads.” [Sung.] “Crossroads”
From the classic blues song “Crossroads” by Robert Johnson, which has been recorded by many artists, including Eric Clapton. Sample lyrics: “I went down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees/Asked the Lord above for mercy, save me if you please.”
“It won’t help to get mad.” Get Glad!
“Don’t get mad—get Glad” is an old advertising slogan for Glad brand plasticware.
You know, Torgo wobbles, but he won’t fall down.
“Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down” was an advertising slogan for Weebles, a children’s toy introduced in the early 1970s. Roughly egg-shaped, the Weebles were little people who—as advertised—always came back to an upright position after being slammed about. They were extremely popular during the 1970s, and they are still available in toy stores today.
Little Debbie is a brand of snack cakes that includes such products as oatmeal creme pies, cream-filled cupcakes, brownies, and many, many more.
Debbie knows it’s Prince spaghetti night.
In the early 1950s, the Prince Co., a pasta manufacturer, coined the advertising slogan “Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti day.” The ad campaign was an effort to expand the pasta market beyond its then-largely Italian base.
It’s name’s Mephisto, can we keep him?
Mephisto, or Mephistophiles, is the name of the devil in the medieval legends of Faust.
Kids worship the darnedest things.
Art Linkletter is an entertainer who hosted the television variety series House Party from 1952-1969. At the end of each show, Linkletter would interview a child so the audience could laugh at its adorable utterances. In 1957, Linkletter wrote a book about his conversations with children titled Kids Say the Darnedest Things. From 1998-2000, Linkletter co-hosted a show with comedian Bill Cosby also called Kids Say the Darnedest Things; Cosby later produced his own collection of kids’ sayings under the same title.
"In a big place? Where, Debbie?" The Northwest Territories.
The Northwest Territories are a territory of northern Canada, located between the Yukon and Nunavut territories. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Wait a second—I think she wants us to follow her, Laura!
Probably a reference to the old Lassie TV show, which aired from 1954-1972. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Ladies and gentlemen, tonight, at the Copacabana, Jules Podell proudly presents Pat Benatar and Tricia Nixon!
Jules Podell was for decades the manager of the Copacabana, a restaurant/nightclub in New York that drew crowds of celebrities both to its stage and to its audiences. Martin and Lewis performed there, as did Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Lucille Ball, Connie Francis, Nat King Cole—the list goes on and on. Pat Benatar was an extremely popular female rock vocalist during the early 1980s, with such hits as “Heartbreaker” and “Hit Me with Your Best Shot.” Tricia Nixon is the oldest daughter of disgraced president Richard M. Nixon.
I’m Tom Bodett, and we’ll leave a pyre on for you.
In 1986, the Motel 6 chain began running a series of commercials featuring Tom Bodett that used the tagline “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The campaign proved phenomenally successful, running for 15 years.
And in a moment, the results of that trial.
“In a moment, the results of that trial” was the tagline on the TV series Dragnet, just before the final commercial break and the wrap-up, telling us what sentence the baddies received so we could end the episode on a nice glow of civic confidence.
He’s doing Macbeth!
Macbeth, or “the Scottish play,” as it is known among superstitious theater folks, is a play by William Shakespeare about a man and his ambitious wife and their efforts to get him crowned king of Scotland. It was first performed about 1605.
It was Callahan! The big one! He did this to me!
A reference to the 1971 film Dirty Harry, in which Scorpio the killer (played by an over-the-top Andrew Robinson) hires a man to beat him up and then claims that Harry Callahan (played by Clint Eastwood) did it.
Itsy bitsy spider goes up the water …
A paraphrase of the classic children’s song “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Actual lyrics: “The itsy bitsy spider/Crawled up the water spout/Down came the rain/And washed the spider out/Out came the sun/And dried up all the rain/And the itsy bitsy spider/Crawled up the spout again.”
[Sung.] Torgo … I just met a fellow named Torgo …
A paraphrase of the song “Maria” from the musical West Side Story. Actual lyrics: “Maria, I've just met a girl named Maria/And suddenly the name will never be the same to me/Maria! I've just kissed a girl named Maria/And suddenly I've found how wonderful a sound can be.”
Marilyn Quayle in Baby Doll.
Marilyn Quayle is the wife of politician Dan Quayle, who served as vice president of the United States from 1989-1993 under George Bush the Elder. She wore her hair in a distinctive, sixties-style flip that attracted a certain amount of derision. Baby Doll is a 1956 film written by Tennessee Williams, about a young woman in the South and the two rivals for her hand. The title role was played by Carroll Baker.
Oh, it’s the latest episode of the Taster’s Choice saga.
In 1987, a series of commercials for Taster’s Choice coffee aired in Great Britain, starring British actors Sharon Maughan and Anthony Head as two people who really love their coffee. The soap-opera style spots featured the chance encounters and growing romance of the couple. The two actors also appeared in an American campaign in 1990 and even got their own romance novel.
Hello, Siegfried! Hello, Roy! Hello, Siegfried! Hello, Roy!
Siegfried and Roy were a perennial Las Vegas draw, performing their magic show with their famous white tigers and lions seven nights a week. In 2003 Roy was mauled by a tiger and the act closed while he recovered.
Who is looking at Maggie the Cat?
Maggie the Cat is the heroine of the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which was made into a movie in 1958; the role was played by Elizabeth Taylor.
It looks like a really cheap Robert Bly workshop.
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.
That was Manos, the Hands of Fate on Music Through the Night.
“Music Through the Night” is a late-night music program produced by Minnesota Public Radio.
[Sung.] So kiss a little longer …
A line from the mid-1980s jingle for Big Red chewing gum. Sample lyrics: “So kiss a little longer/Laugh a little longer/Stay close a little longer/Longer with Big Red …”
Some delicious A.1., my pet?
A.1. is a brand of steak sauce manufactured by Kraft Foods.
Hey, this is Polo!
Polo is a brand of men’s perfume made by Ralph Lauren.
It’s the makeout county line.
Macon County Line is a 1974 film starring a bunch of young actors you’ve never heard of as brothers whose car breaks down in Macon County and find themselves hunted by the law.
Stephanie, bring me some coffee and a Pop-Tart. And bring your steno pad.
Pop-Tarts are a brand of ready-made pastries that you heat in the toaster. They are manufactured by Kellogg’s.
It’s a Moody Blues song.
The Moody Blues are a British classical rock band known for such hits as “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin.”
Bill Buckner was a professional baseball player who played for a number of teams, but is remembered for his role on the Red Sox, where an error made by him was blamed for costing the Red Sox the 1986 World Series.
Michael Franks was a popular singer/songwriter in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In addition to his own set of albums, he has written songs performed by the Carpenters and Patti LaBelle, among others.
Yul Brynner! Sort of.
Yul Brynner (1915-1985) was a bald actor best known for his work in such films as The King and I and The Magnificent Seven.
A reference to singer/actor Al Jolson (1886-1950). Specifically, an imitation of his performance of his signature song, “My Mammy.”
The black and red Moses of soul.
A variation on one of the writers’ favorite lines—“Ladies and gentlemen, Jam Productions is proud to present the Black Moses of Soul!”—which first appeared in Show 405, The Being from Another Planet. "Black Moses" was a nickname for soul musician Isaac Hayes, best known for the theme from Shaft. Hayes released an album in 1971 with that title. (Thanks to RMF for the Hayes reference.)
I mean, who can afford Lancôme makeup, huh?
Lancôme Paris is a cosmetics company that sells a full line of beauty products: skin care, makeup, perfumes, etc.
One of these days, Alice … Alices.
A reference to a running gag on the 1950s television sitcom The Honeymooners, which starred Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden and Audrey Meadows as his long-suffering wife Alice.
Women who lunch. –And the Manos who love them.
This is a take on the plethora of self-help books bearing titles like Women Who Love Men Who Hate Cats Who Love Women, the granddaddy of them all being Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them by Susan Forward and Joan Torres.
You know, the scene is strong enough for a Manos, but made for a womanos.
The longtime slogan for Secret deodorant is “Strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.”
And now back to We Married Manos.
Probably a reference to the TV sitcom I Married Joan, which aired from 1952-1955 and starred Joan Davis as the ditzy wife of a judge.
“Silence!” Is golden! “Silence!” Is golden!
A reference to the folk proverb “Silence is golden,” which appears to trace its origin back to the Midrash, a series of Judaic commentaries on the Bible.
But first, funny man Morty Gunty.
Morty Gunty (1929-1984) was the host of a children’s show in New York City from 1963-1965. He appeared as himself in the 1984 Woody Allen film Broadway Danny Rose.
“Maybe we should spare the child.” And spoil the rod.
“Spare the rod and spoil the child” is a proverb that traces its origins to the Old Testament: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son.”
Die, die, my darling.
Die! Die! My Darling is a 1965 film about a young woman stalked by her dead fiance’s mother (played by screen legend Tallulah Bankhead). The film also goes by the name Fanatic.
Next on ESPN: full contact nightgown wrestling.
ESPN is a cable sports channel.
Designing Women: the lost episodes.
Designing Women was a television sitcom about a group of women who ran an interior decorating business. It aired from 1986-1993.
And now the Manos women’s guild will re-enact the battle of Pearl Harbor.
A reference to a sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, titled “The Batley Townswomen’s Guild Presents the Battle of Pearl Harbor.” In the skit, the women simply roll around in the mud clawing at each other.
You know, this was the alternate ending to Beaches.
Beaches is a 1988 film starring Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey as two friends who share a conflicted friendship from childhood and into adulthood.
You know, this isn’t Lysistrata. I like it, but it isn’t Lysistrata.
Lysistrata is a comic play written by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, about a group of women who resolve to end war by withholding sex until the men agree to make peace.
It’s the Wilson Phillips breakup.
Wilson Phillips was a female pop trio consisting of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson and Chynna Phillips. They hit it big in the early 1990s but broke up after the release of their second album. The trio did get back together in 2003 and released an album the following year.
[Sung.] 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 …”
You know what this movie really needs is Marc Singer.
Marc Singer is a hunky actor best known for his role as the Beastmaster in the 1982 film of the same name.
Pow. Boff. Smack. Biff.
A reference to the campy '60s TV series Batman, which often threw up title cards like the foregoing during fight scenes. (Thanks to Lewis Micbee, a.k.a. Rev. Marcus Burkhard, for pointing out this reference.)
Torgo, you’re the laziest man on Mars.
A reference to Show 321, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.
Keep away from me! Keep away!
An imitation of Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris), the mincing, villainous stowaway/saboteur on the TV series Lost in Space, which aired from 1965-1968. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Is this your card?
The early ads for American Express personalized credit cards focused on the fear of theft or loss of a card, stressing how the victim was screwed unless it was an American Express with their name on it. “Is this your card? American Express: don’t leave home without it.”
I just remembered—"Family Circus" was really funny today.
A reference to the comic strip “Family Circus,” created by Bil Keane. The strip, drawn in a circle rather than the usual rectangle, is about the cute exploits of several small children and their long-suffering parents.
[Sung.] Never steal anything wet … Say, who’s the new guy?
A reference to Show 204, Catalina Caper.
Oh, I hope she doesn’t make like Jenny Fields.
Jenny Fields is the mother of T.S. Garp in The World According to Garp; she conceives her son while working in a hospital, choosing an unconscious and dying soldier to be the father. Glenn Close played the role in the 1982 movie.
[Sung.] I don’t know how to love him …
A line from the song by the same name, from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Sample lyrics: “I don't know how to love him/What to do, how to move him/I've been changed, yes really changed …”
We return to Girl Talk with Virginia Graham.
Girl Talk was a talk show for women in the 1960s hosted by Virginia Graham, one of the first talk show hosts. (She hosted several other talk shows as well during her long career.) She was the host of Girl Talk from 1963-1969.
She’s my sister! She’s my daughter! She’s my sister!
A reference to the climactic scene of the 1974 film Chinatown, in which Jack Nicholson learns that thanks to an incestuous liaison, Faye Dunaway is both sister and mother to Katherine Cross.
The movie has kind of a Ken Russell feel to it, I’d say.
Ken Russell is a film director known for his gothic, over-the-top films, which include The Lair of the White Worm (1988) and Altered States (1980).
Carol Brady was the mom on the TV series The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969-1974. The role was played by Florence Henderson.
The Maidenform woman. You never know where she’ll turn up.
“The Maidenform woman. You never know where she’ll turn up” was the tagline for a series of advertisements for Maidenform bras that ran during the 1970s. The campaign was phenomenally successful, boosting sales by as much as 200 percent. The ads continued to run until the mid-1980s.
Freddy Mercury was the flamboyant lead singer for the British rock band Queen.
All my bags are packed. I'm ready to go.
The opening lines to the John Denver song "Leaving on a Jet Plane"; Peter, Paul & Mary's cover of the song hit number 1 in 1969. Sample lyrics: "All my bags are packed/I'm ready to go/I'm standing here outside your door/I hate to wake you up to say goodbye." (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Jimmy Hoffa. The last known photo.
Jimmy Hoffa (1913-1975) was a labor leader who served as president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters from 1957-1971. He had well-known connections with organized crime, and in 1975 he disappeared from a Detroit restaurant where he was supposed to be dining with a couple of mob figures. He was never seen again and was declared dead in 1982. His son, James Hoffa, succeeded him as Teamsters president in 1999.
He used to go out with all these women and now they’re all here. Kodachrome.
A reference to the Paul Simon song "Kodachrome." Sample lyrics: "If you took all the girls I knew when I was single/And brought them all together for one night/I know they'd never match my sweet imagination/And everything looks worse in black and white/Kodachrome." (Thanks to reader Brian Johnston for this reference.)
“There’s been enough trouble.” Right here in River City.
A reference to a line from the musical The Music Man. The actual line: “You got trouble, folks! Right here in River City. Trouble with a Capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool.”
The amazing Technicolor poncho.
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, a retelling of the biblical story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors.”
He’s got Earl Campbell thighs.
Earl Campbell was a well-known running back for the Houston Oilers, where he played from 1978-1984. The phrase is probably also a play on the 1974 Kim Carnes song "Bette Davis Eyes." (Thanks to Brad Watson for the song reference.)
Oh, no, not liturgical dance.
Liturgical dance is dance as a form of worship during a religious ceremony.
Yes, dear. I'm doing it, dear.
This is a line from the classic British TV show Fawlty Towers, spoken by John Cleese, who played hotel owner Basil Fawlty.
They’re rolfing him to death.
Rolfing, also known as structural integration, is a form of massage whose advocates say can heal all sorts of health problems.
You know, I love my Craftmatic pole. That was the most comfortable sleep I’ve ever had.
Craftmatic is a brand of adjustable bed whose commercials are a staple of late-night TV.
Dear Eveready: I was tied to a post all night and left my flashlight on. The battery was …
Eveready is a brand of batteries.
[Sung.] Smoke on the weirdo …
“Smoke on the Water” is a song by the band Deep Purple. Sample lyrics: “Frank Zappa and the Mothers/Were at the best place around/But some stupid with a flare gun/Burned the place to the ground/Smoke on the water, fire in the sky.”
The new pope has not been chosen.
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.
Oh, this is gonna be just like in The Grifters.
In the 1990 movie The Grifters, con artist Lilly Dillon is tortured by having her hand burned with a cigar.
[Sung.] Charred finger …
A paraphrase of the song “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey (see above note).
Light hand and get away.
“Light and get away” is a common warning on fireworks.
The most dangerous game.
The Most Dangerous Game is a 1932 film starring Joel McCrea and Fay Wray as shipwrecked passengers on a mysterious island whose owner hunts humans for sport.
It’s Mary Kay-K-K.
Mary Kay is a cosmetics company whose “consultants” sell beauty care products independently, much like Avon Ladies. The company racked up $2.5 billion in retail sales in 2000. Top salesladies can earn themselves a pink Cadillac or other car from the company. The Ku Klux Klan, or KKK, has been a couple of secret organizations over the years; the first was founded just after the Civil War as a vigilante group designed to retain white supremacy in the South by intimidating newly freed black slaves. It had disappeared within twenty years. But in 1915 the group was revived, inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed the original KKK as a noble band striving to protect civilization from depraved African-Americans. The organization peaked at a membership of about 4 million in the 1920s but had once again died out by the end of World War II. There was another brief resurgence of the Klan in the 1960s in response to the civil rights movement; today its membership is probably only a few thousand, and it has fragmented into several small and competing groups.
Julia Roberts is one of Hollywood’s most admired leading ladies, frequently considered one of the most beautiful people in the world.
He tampered in God’s domain.
A reference to Show 423, Bride of the Monster.
A Creamsicle is a frozen treat on a stick: ice cream with a sherbert shell.
It’s like they’re walking into a John Waters film.
John Waters is a bizarre Baltimore filmmaker who has directed such off-the-wall masterpieces as Pink Flamingos (1972) and Hairspray (1988).
Surprise, surprise, surprise!
An imitation of Jim Nabors as Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and later on Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Boy, Russ Weatherwax really topped himself with this dog.
Brothers Frank and Rudd (not Russ) Weatherwax were legendary Hollywood dog trainers. They trained Pal, the original Lassie, in addition to Pal’s successors. They also trained the dogs that played Toto in The Wizard of Oz, Asta in the Thin Man movies, and Old Yeller.
[Sung.] At Beneficial …
The beginning of an old advertising jingle for the Beneficial Finance Company: “At Beneficial (honk, honk) you’re good for more.”
Oh, thank you very much! A shot in the face, how nice!
An imitation of playwright and actor Noel Coward, as channeled by Eric Idle in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983). (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
[Sung.] Riders on the storm …
A line from the Doors song of the same name. Sample lyrics: “Riders on the storm/Into this house we’re born/Into this world we’re thrown/Like a dog without a bone …”
Well, that’s when we were at knives, and then Lou sang “Fernando,” and then Gary—oh, he sings so good.
“Fernando” is a song by ABBA. Sample lyrics: “Can you hear the drums Fernando?/I remember long ago another starry night like this/In the firelight Fernando …”
Do you like Barry Manilow songs?
Barry Manilow is a singer/songwriter who enjoyed a string of hits in the 1970s, including “Copacabana” and “Mandy.”
McNuggets, you know, they make me so gassy, all that grease and all.
Chicken McNuggets are fried chicken bits served at McDonald’s fast food restaurants.
So my aunt and uncle, they celebrated their twentieth anniversary, and my uncle wanted to sing “Sunrise, Sunset” and he wanted me to sing it, and I haven’t sung that since Cindy’s wedding, and she never thanked me for that … well, she’s really busy and all.
The song “Sunrise, Sunset” is from Fiddler on the Roof, a successful Broadway musical that was made into a movie in 1971. Sample lyrics: “Is this the little girl I carried?/Is this the little boy at play?”
Joan Kennedy is the onetime wife of U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy. The couple were married in 1958 and divorced in 1984. They had three children together.
I ain’t gonna play sun city.
A line from the anti-apartheid song “Sun City.” Sun City was a luxury resort located in South Africa during the height of apartheid, and “Sun City,” recorded by a group of musicians calling themselves Artists United Against Apartheid, became an anthem for the anti-apartheid movement.
Titles by Keith Haring.
Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an artist known for active, colorful paintings of dancing little people drawn in simple, thick black lines; they were particularly popular with children. He derived a large part of his inspiration from the bold forms of street graffiti. Haring died of AIDS at the age of 31.
[Sung.] Faded photograph …
A line from the song “Traces” by Classics IV. Sample lyrics: “Faded photograph/Covered now with lines and creases/Tickets torn in half/Memories in bits and pieces/Traces of love long ago/That didn't work out right/Traces of love …”
He went on to do Torgo at Disney World.
Disney World is a family resort in Orlando, Florida.
Ben Vereen is an actor and Broadway mainstay who has also appeared in a number of TV shows and movies.
They all wanted to be Dean Martin’s Golddiggers, you know.
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).
Whoa, these two. Like Allen and Rossi, they stole the show.
Marty Allen and Steve Rossi were a comedy team in the 1950s and 1960s, making numerous appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and even starring in several movies, including The Last of the Secret Agents.