Hey, the cartoon has landed. –Is this a Pink Panther movie? –No. I think it’s a NASA simulation, kinda like? –Why would they use cartoons? –So astronauts could understand them? –Ah.
“Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed” was astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first non-technical transmission back to Earth once the Apollo 11 Lunar Module landed upon the Moon. The Pink Panther movies starred comedian Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau (the “Pink Panther” is a large diamond that is the center of the plot of the first film and appears in several of the others). Sellers eventually starred in five Pink Panther movies; several others were made after his death in 1980. The credit sequences for the movies featured a cartoon panther. The response to the character was so positive it was given 124 animated shorts, ten television series, and several prime time specials. He has also been licensed to sell insulation and promote breast cancer awareness. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration was first established in 1958. NASA has overseen every mission to space authorized by the U.S. government, including the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and Space Shuttle missions, as well as more than a thousand unmanned probes sent to various other worlds and into deep space.
Hey, is this Petulia (sic) Clark singing? –Peculiar Clark? –Petuliar?
Petula Clark is an English singer who had her biggest hit in 1964 with “Downtown.” Clark also had hits such as “I Know a Place,” “A Sign of the Times,” and “Don’t Sleep in the Subway.” She was also an actress, appearing in 1969’s Goodbye, Mr. Chips. “Downtown” was written by Tony Hatch and hit number 1 in the U.S., number 2 in the U.K., and topped several other charts around the world. It has since been covered by artists such as Dolly Parton and The B-52’s.
You look like Goldie Hawn on Laugh-In, Joel. –Except for the hair. –And body.
Goldie Hawn is an actress who has starred in many films, including Private Benjamin, Foul Play, and Cactus Flower (for which she won an Oscar). Before that, she played the “quirky, dim blonde” stereotype to the hilt on the 1968-1973 sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, where she was known both for her trademark giggle and for her way of filling out a skimpy bikini.
Hey, it’s ‘60s glasnost.
Mikhail Gorbachev was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991; his term was marked by a desire for more openness (“glasnost”), which eventually led to greater freedoms for the Soviet people.
That’s Old Glory he just ... aw …
“Old Glory” is a nickname for the American flag first coined in the 1820s by William Driver, a U.S. ship captain. The name was originally for his personal flag, which is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution.
Are those the Blue Meanies? –[Imitating.] Oh, that’d be wrong, Paul. –[Imitating.] I’ve got a hole in me pocket.
Blue Meanies are the antagonists in Yellow Submarine who hate music and, essentially, anything good and fun. The 1968 animated film features the music and animated likenesses of The Beatles (Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr) but not their voices, which were performed by other actors. (The Beatles appear as themselves in a live-action epilogue.) In one scene, the “nowhere man,” Jeremy, is kidnapped and taken to the Sea of Holes, and one of these holes ends up in Ringo’s pocket.
Hey, it’s Donald Trump. He’s chasing the good guys away. That doesn’t make sense. –It makes perfect sense.
Donald Trump is a New York City real estate mogul who hit it big in the 1980s with the construction of mammoth buildings such as the Trump Tower (built in 1983). In the early 1990s, he ran into severe financial problems but had rebounded by the end of the decade. Since then, he’s become a reality TV star and a pop culture punch line, often thanks to his oddly artificial hairstyle.
Ah, Houston, I just spotted an animated cartoon on the surface of the Moon. Come in?
The Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (née Manned Spacecraft Center) in Houston, Texas, is NASA’s flight control station for missions once the rockets have cleared the launch tower in Florida. It was opened in 1961 and has provided in-flight operational guidance to all manned NASA missions since Gemini 4.
It’s an orbiting Garden Weasel. And an orbiting space ferret. Get it?
The Garden Weasel is a gardening tool that has been advertised on television for years (it was introduced in 1976). It is a cultivator designed to break up soil and root up weeds, preparing the ground for planting.
He’s got the Nintendo Power Glove there.
Nintendo is a Japanese company founded in 1889 (!) by Fusajiro Yamauchi to make playing cards. The name entered the American consciousness when their Nintendo Entertainment System—a video gaming platform—was sold in North America in 1985. The Nintendo Power Glove was an NES controller first sold in 1989. It re-created hand movements on screen, but it was criticized for its clumsiness and difficult controls. It didn’t sell at all well, but that didn’t stop the hype. That same year, a Fred Savage film titled The Wizard, financed by Nintendo, featured the Power Glove prominently and bestowed god-like powers on all who wielded it. The movie didn’t do so well, either, earning only $14 million in its U.S. release.
Darn those space coons. They got into the garbage again. Honey, we’re getting those Rubbermaid cans. This isn’t going to happen again. I’m not going in for this.
Rubbermaid was founded in 1920 in Ohio by a group of businessmen and named Wooster Rubber. They primarily sold balloons. In 1933, James Caldwell received a patent for his rubber dustpan and branded it Rubbermaid. Wooster Rubber and Rubbermaid merged the following year. Today, they are known for their sturdy garbage and food storage containers.
Maynard Ferguson’s out there somewhere.
Maynard Ferguson (1928-2006) was a Canadian jazz musician noted for his trumpet work and his stint with Stan Kenton’s orchestra.
Sorta seems like a waste of cargo space to bring along a conga band.
The conga is a Latin American line dance introduced to the United States by Desi Arnaz in the late 1930s.
Oh, he’s got VPL in a bad way.
“Visible Panty Line,” or VPL, refers to the outline of underwear visible through a woman’s clothing. The phrase appears to have originated within the military, and it was first printed in a 1967 novel about the Vietnam War. The term was popularized with the rest of society in the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall.
Moon Control to Major Tom?
A reference to singer-songwriter/glam rock pioneer David Bowie’s 1969 hit single “Space Oddity.” It is best known for the lyrics referring to the failed mission of fictional astronaut Major Tom. As a result, the song is often colloquially named “Ground Control to Major Tom.”
He’s got Playtex Living Elbows. Look at that.
Playtex is a brand name formerly associated with women’s garments but which now includes hygiene and infant care. The company was founded in 1932 and is named Playtex after “perforated latex”; their method of layering latex rubber with cloth. Since the 1930s, Playtex has made gloves, which were later branded “Playtex Living Gloves.” In a funny bit of coincidence, Playtex made elements of NASA’s spacesuits in the 1960s.
There’s a space Blue Light Special in quadrant B9.
Kmart is a discount store chain started in 1962 by Sebastian Kresge. They became famous for their “Blue Light Specials” and the phrase “Attention Kmart shoppers.” In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy and in 2004, they merged with Sears, Roebuck & Company. It should be noted that the actual phrase referring to brothels is “Red Light District,” which originated in the late 1800s when brothels were marked by red-colored lamps.
I’m here for the Gumby wedding.
Animator Art Clokey created Gumby, the green, lopsided claymation figure, in 1956. The television show starring Gumby, Pokey, and friends aired original episodes for seven years, from 1956 to 1963. A Gumby short, “Robot Rumpus,” aired as part of Show 912, The Screaming Skull.
Test your love? Flaming! Great.
Penny arcade “Love Tester” machines have been around for more than a century. They involved depositing a coin in the slot and gripping a handle, then watching a sequence of lights flash and bells sound until one level of love was selected at random (levels ranged from something like “Blah” to “Hot Stuff”). Later machines became somewhat digital, and some models measured skin capacitance to derive a more “scientific” conclusion.
Wow. It’s Castro.
Fidel Castro is the longtime socialist leader of Cuba. After his revolutionary army took power from dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he began cutting rents for the poor, nationalizing industries, accepting aid from the Soviet Union, and in general getting up the nose of the stridently anti-Communist United States.
Where’s the Armor All?
Armor All is a brand of auto care products started in 1972, which include cleaners, protectants, polishes, and more. The protectant is designed to keep vinyl, rubber, and plastic looking new.
Wow, did he get that shirt at a Molly Hatchet concert?
Molly Hatchet is a Southern rock band that formed in 1975; its hit albums include Flirtin’ with Disaster and Double Trouble Live.
Thumbelina is the heroine of an 1835 fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, about a woman who wishes for a child and gets one about the size of a thumb—hence her name.
“I’m looking for Mister ...” Goodbar?
Looking for Mr. Goodbar is the name of a 1975 novel by Judith Rossner and a 1977 Oscar-nominated film about a murdered New York City schoolteacher. Mr. Goodbar itself is the name of a peanut-laden version of a Hershey bar, first introduced in 1925.
Oh, hi, Gumby.
See above note.
Here, I don’t need it. I already have Pete Rose.
Pete Rose is considered one of the greatest baseball players ever to play the game, and his records (for hits, games played, at-bats, and outs) still stand. He played for the Cincinnati Reds for most of his career, which lasted from 1963 to 1986. In the late 1980s, after he had retired, allegations swirled that Rose had bet on baseball games while still a player, specifically against his own team. (In 2004 Rose finally admitted to betting on his team, but adamantly denied he had ever bet against them.) He was placed on the permanent ineligibility list, the Reds cannot formally retire his number (14), and he cannot be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
They dress their stewardesses like Nazis.
The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, popularly known as the Nazi Party, was the fascist political party started by Anton Drexler in 1920 and led by Adolf Hitler from 1921 until 1945.
When did you join the guard? –[German accent.] Right after I turned in the Von Trapp family.
The Von Trapp Family Choir (or Trapp Family Singers) was an Austrian group of singers made up of a widower, his seven children, and Maria, a tutor who later became their stepmother. They escaped Austria during the Anschluss, the 1938 annexation of their country into Germany. Their story became the 1959 Rodgers & Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, and later the famed 1965 film of the same name.
Do you think I look like a zucchini? –She looks like Dot Vader.
Dots is a type of gumdrop candy produced by Tootsie Roll Industries. They were first sold in 1945. Darth Vader was the primary villain in the original trilogy of Star Wars films. He began life as Anakin Skywalker, a student of Obi-Wan Kenobi who was corrupted by the Dark Side of the Force to become a Dark Lord of the Sith, second only to his master, Emperor Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious). The man in the suit was most often Welsh bodybuilder David Prowse; his voice was provided by James Earl Jones.
“... told me you fly over to far side occasionally. I wondered if you know my brother ...” Gary Larson.
“The Far Side” is a comic created by Gary Larson that ran in nearly two thousand newspapers at its peak. It was characterized by surrealistic humor, anthropomorphized characters (often cows), heavyset women with horn-rimmed glasses & beehive hairdos, cavemen, and many other staples. It lasted fifteen years, from 1980 to 1995.
Don’t you listen to what the man says.
“Listen to What the Man Said” is a 1975 hit single by the rock group Wings, written by Paul and Linda McCartney.
Yeah, but on the good side, there’s no Howie Mandel.
Howie Mandel is a standup comedian and actor who was a regular on the TV series St. Elsewhere and who performs regularly in concerts and TV specials.
In the future, bras will grow on the Moon. Cross my heart.
Playtex Cross Your Heart Bras is a line of brassieres made since the early 1970s, at which time buxom actress Jane Russell was their spokesperson.
Hey, it’s the original Space Mountain. Look, the line’s still long.
Space Mountain is the name of the space-themed indoor roller coaster attractions at the five Magic Kingdom Disney theme parks. The first opened in Walt Disney World in 1975.
Crush it and flavor it, you’ve got a Slurpee.
Slurpee is the name of convenience store 7-Eleven’s brand of flavored ice drinks first sold in 1967. The Slurpee was not created by the chain. Instead, 7-Eleven licensed slushy drinks from the ICEE Company and just changed the name. For real fun, check out the 45 single 7-Eleven sold in 1967 titled “Dance the Slurp.”
And D-cups as far as the eye can see.
D-cup is a measurement of breast size dating back to 1932 when the A through D scale was created by S.H. Camp & Company. The largest breast size on record is 38KKK. Yeah, they’re fake. The largest real breasts weigh in (literally) at 102ZZZ and nearly 85 pounds. The proud owner, Annie Hawkins-Turner, suffers from gigantomastia, a disease of the breast connective tissue.
Yeah, yeah, sure. Don’t you have to go make some elfin cookies?
A reference to the Keebler Company, the largest U.S. cookie and cracker maker, founded in 1853 by Godfrey Keebler in Philadelphia. The Keebler Elves are a group of bakers introduced in ads in 1968; they have since become some of the most recognizable advertising icons out there.
She looks like an Oompa-Loompa.
The Oompa-Loompas are diminutive men who work in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and spontaneously burst into song at odd moments but with strangely appropriate lyrics and well-planned dance moves. They first appeared in Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where they were described as African pygmies. That didn’t go over well, so in later editions Dahl changed their appearance to white skin with golden hair. In the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, they were orange skinned with dark green hair.
They’re wearing Othello game pieces on their head.
Reversi is a board game featuring discs that are colored white on one side and black on the reverse. It was invented in 1880s England. In the early 1970s, the game was produced in Japan and marketed as Othello, named after the Shakespearean play wherein the Moor Othello is in conflict with the Caucasian Iago. Pressman Toy Corporation makes the game in the United States.
Hey, it looks like Liza Minnelli and Lola Falana had a garage sale.
Liza Minnelli is a singer and actress. Daughter of Judy Garland, Minnelli is known for her starring role in Cabaret and many stints on Broadway. Lola Falana is a singer and actress discovered in the mid-1960s by Sammy Davis Jr., who gave her roles in several films, including A Man Called Adam. Throughout the 1970s, she hosted several variety specials and TV series, as well as co-starred in The New Bill Cosby Show. In the late 1970s she was the highest-paid female performer in Las Vegas.
Pampers punch? Ick.
Pampers are a brand of disposable diaper created in 1961 by Procter & Gamble researcher Vic Mills.
Pizza Time Theater.
Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theatre was the original name for the pizza and games chain founded in 1977 by Nolan Bushnell (also the founder of Atari). As of 2009, there were 542 locations. After some financial woes in the 1980s, Pizza Time Theatre was bought by competitor Showbiz Pizza Place, which later changed the name of all their locations to Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Moon Zero Mostel.
Zero Mostel (1915-1977) was a stage and screen actor best known for his role in the 1968 film The Producers. A lengthy blacklisting came in the 1950s, thanks to his refusal to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee. His career recovered starting in the late 1950s, and he starred on stage in Fiddler on the Roof and in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Hairpieces by Alexander Calder.
Alexander Calder (1898-1976) was an artist best known for his elaborate mobiles.
L. Ron Hubbard? Old Mother Hubbard?
L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986) was a writer known for his pulp fiction and the sci-fi tome Battlefield Earth. Throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, Hubbard had financial difficulties and told many people that the easiest way to make money was to devise a new faith or a new psychiatric method. By founding Scientology, he did both. “Old Mother Hubbard” is an English nursery rhyme first printed in 1805 about an elderly matron searching for a treat to appease her canine, only to find that his repertoire of tricks was nigh inexhaustible.
Then I’m not going to be Community Chest any more.
Community Chest is one of two types of cards (the other being Chance) available in the board game Monopoly, drawn when the player’s token lands on the appropriate space. It was named after a charity called Community Chest, which was the original name for the United Way.
Fourth floor. Tyrannical tycoons. Loose women.
For many years, manually operated elevators in high-rise buildings required employees who manipulated the lever. In department stores, the operator would often announce to the elevator’s passengers what products and services were available on each floor.
Works every time.
“It works every time” was the longtime slogan for Colt 45 malt liquor, used primarily in ads from the 1980s featuring actor Billy Dee Williams.
I’m just wild about Harry.
“I’m Just Wild About Harry” is a song written by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake for the 1921 musical Shuffle Along. At the time, it broke taboos about depicting romance between black characters. In 1948, Harry Truman used it as his campaign song for his presidential election campaign. It was also used frequently in Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes animated shorts.
An Otto on the surface of the Moon? It’ll never work.
Possibly a reference to the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), first deployed on the surface in 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission.
“Do you know asteroids, Mr. Kent?” Sure. I have Atari.
Asteroids was an arcade game that debuted in 1979 at the beginning of the arcade craze. It featured simple vector graphics: an arrowhead-shaped spaceship fires dots at small-, medium-, and large-shaped asteroids and the occasional UFO. Atari is the video game and consumer electronics brand founded by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in 1972. The name came from the Japanese board game Go, in which “atari” means “to hit the target.” In 1977, they released the famed Atari 2600 (initially called the VCS: “Video Computer System”) and soon became the fastest-growing company in the United States. After the release of the Atari 5200 in 1982 came the Video Game Crash of 1983, wherein the market was saturated with often-inferior games and personal computers were on the rise. The company became splintered among its varied divisions and corporate maneuvering led to its demise in 1984. Various companies have purchased the brand and produced games with the name in the ensuing years.
Doesn’t he look like the head of KAOS? –Yeah, I was just thinking that. –Bernie Koppel? The guy from That Girl.
KAOS was the name of the evil organization on the 1965-1970 spy spoof series Get Smart. Siegfried, the Vice President of Public Relations and Terror at KAOS, was played by actor Bernie Kopell, who is best known as Dr. Adam Bricker on The Love Boat (1977-1986). He also played Jerry Bauman in the 1966-1971 ABC sitcom That Girl, which starred Marlo Thomas as a struggling actress in New York City.
He’s right. Just ask John Landis.
John Landis is a director of such classic films as National Lampoon’s Animal House, The Blues Brothers, and An American Werewolf in London. This riff is a dark, dark reference to 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie, the first segment of which was directed by Landis. During filming of a Vietnam War-era sequence, a helicopter crashed, decapitating actor Vic Morrow and killing two child actors he was carrying. Landis and several crew members were charged with involuntary manslaughter but were acquitted in a jury trial. The parents of the children sued and ultimately settled out of court, as did Morrow’s children. The accident resulted in stricter safety measures and more stringent oversight of child labor in films in the state of California.
This is me, playing Breakout.
Breakout was an Atari game that debuted in 1976. It featured a controllable paddle at the bottom of the screen used to deflect a bouncing ball into a brick construct at the top of the screen to remove it brick by brick.
Is that Richard Kiel’s stupider brother?
Richard Kiel is a seven-foot-tall actor best known for his role as the henchman Jaws in two James Bond films: The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979). MSTies know and adore him as the prehistoric caveman who just wants to be loved in Show 506, Eegah!
I love Sapphire. She’s great.
Possibly a reference to Sapphire Stevens, wife of George “Kingfish” Stevens in the long-running radio, film, and TV series Amos ‘n’ Andy.
Don Pardo, show him what he’ll win!
Don Pardo is a longtime radio and television announcer whose career began in 1938. He first rose to fame as the original announcer of The Price Is Right from 1956 to 1963 and then as the announcer for the original version of Jeopardy! from 1964 to 1975. Beginning in 1975, he has announced for NBC’s late night sketch series Saturday Night Live for every season save one (1981-1982). He retired in 2004, but he still pre-records his cast introductions from his home studio in Arizona.
Shhnoopers and Blahhbbers!
Snooper and Blabber is a short cartoon that appeared on The Quick Draw McGraw Show from 1959 to 1962. Super Snooper (cat) and Blabber Mouse (mouse) were sleuths voiced by Daws Butler; Blabber spoke with a speech impediment, thus Joel’s impersonation.
Oh, thank you, Vidal Sassoon. [Imitating.] I don’t look good, then you don’t look good.
An imitation of Vidal Sassoon, a British hairstylist who created influential hairstyles in the 1960s and developed hair care products that were sold by Procter & Gamble beginning in the early 1980s. He often appeared in ads for his products. “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good” was their longtime ad slogan.
Hey, her boots are eating her. –It’s her tribute to Bronko Nagurski. –She was in Yards of Leather, I think.
Bronko Nagurski (1908-1990) was a professional football player and wrestler known for his intimidating size and brute force. Yards of Leather is the name of a bondage-centric pornographic film apparently devised by Best Brains, because I can’t find a real movie (porn or otherwise) by that title.
Looks like these guys got suited up for a foosball game.
Foosball is a table-top game set up like a game of soccer. Each rank of players is controlled by a metal rod that is pulled and spun to kick a small ball toward the opposing player’s goal.
You gotta marry her, Bill. She’s got the wedding bell blues. –Up, up and away.
“Wedding Bell Blues” is a song written and released by Laura Nyro in 1966. It didn’t go anywhere until it was re-recorded by The 5th Dimension in 1969, when it became a number one hit. Sample lyrics: “Come on and marry me Bill/I got the wedding bell blues.” “Up, Up and Away” is a 1967 song also released by The 5th Dimension that reached the top ten.
[Accent.] Okay, Meester Fawlty.
An impersonation of Manuel (Andrew Sachs), the waiter in the Torquay, England, hotel Fawlty Towers in the classic BBC sitcom of the same name. He’s from Barcelona and frequently misunderstands the commands of hotel owner Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese.
He’s from Barcelona.
See previous note.
Slap in the road tape, dude, and get the JD from under the seat.
Jack Daniel’s (sometimes abbreviated as just “Jack” or “JD”) is a brand of Tennessee whiskey first produced by Jack Daniel in 1875.
Travel with roller derby queens. That’s great.
Possibly a reference to the 1973 Jim Croce song “Roller Derby Queen.” Roller derby is a sport in which teams of (usually female) players on roller skates compete to score points while racing around a track, either flat or banked. It began in the 1930s as a skating marathon and evolved into a popular sport that endured until the early 1970s. A 1971 match at the Oakland Coliseum drew a crowd of 38,000. Roller derby lay moribund for two decades before being revived as a popular amateur sport. By 2009 there were more than four hundred amateur roller derby leagues worldwide.
Oh, it’s Esther Williams. She’s in a fish bowl.
Esther Williams is a swimmer and actress who became famous in a string of films in the 1940s and 1950s that featured elaborate aquatic musical numbers. She retired from acting in the 1960s and started a profitable line of women’s swimwear.
Would you turn off Peter and the Wolf, please?
Peter and the Wolf is a 1936 music composition for children by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953). In the story, Peter encounters a forest wolf that has eaten his duck friend; against his grandfather’s advice, he tricks the wolf and captures it in a trap. The piece is famous for its use of different instrumental leitmotifs for each character.
The Importance of Being Earnest. That’s where I saw him. –Gentleman Caller, actually. But these rockets, as I was saying ...
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play, first produced in 1895, written by Oscar Wilde. It is generally considered his finest work. The play is a satirical farce that tells the story of two young men who have adopted lying as a way of life: one has invented an imaginary friend named Bunbury, who affords him an excuse to escape London for the country, and the other has invented a brother named Ernest who allows him to visit London to see his sweetheart. Hijinks, misunderstandings, and romantic liaisons ensue. The play has been adapted for film and television several times. “Gentleman Caller” may be a reference to Tennessee Williams’ 1944 play The Glass Menagerie. Its original title was The Gentleman Caller, and the character of Jim was Laura’s “gentleman caller.”
There’s a sale at Penney’s.
A line from the 1980 comedy film Airplane! While air traffic control personnel are reading the papers for news of the airplane’s woes, Johnny (played by the late Stephen Stucker) peers over their shoulders and exclaims, “There’s a sale at Penney’s!” “Penney’s” is itself an abbreviation for the department store J.C. Penney, established in 1902 by James Cash Penney.
Hey, it’s Randolph Mantooth.
Randolph Mantooth is an actor best known for playing paramedic Johnny Gage in the NBC medical drama Emergency! (1972-1977).
Is that rayon they’re wearing? –Naugahyde!
Rayon is a manufactured fiber first produced in 1880s France as an alternative to silk. It is made by extracting cellulose from wood pulp. Naugahyde is a brand name of artificial leather made up of layers of knit fabric and plastic coating. It was first made in Naugatuck, Connecticut (hence the name), in the 1930s.
Hey, it’s Hee Haw: 1999.
Hee Haw was a syndicated country variety show hosted by Buck Owens and Roy Clark. The show featured cornpone humor and appearances by virtually every major star in country music, including Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and Loretta Lynn. It ran from 1969-1992. This riff references the British syndicated sci-fi series Space: 1999 (1975-1977), which was set on a moon base; it starred Martin Landau and Barbara Bain.
Pretty soon they’ll get those foam “we’re number one” hands.
The foam finger is a piece of sports memorabilia first made by high school teacher Geral Fauss in 1978. The first ones were made of plywood and manufactured by the students in Fauss’s industrial arts class as a project to raise money for the school; Fauss started Spirit Industries and began selling foam hands the following year.
Anybody know where a guy can get some Armor All around here?
See above note.
This is like The Benny Hill Show.
The Benny Hill Show was a British sketch comedy series that ran in various forms between 1969 and 1991 in more than 140 countries. The series was characterized by risqué humor of the burlesque-show variety, high-speed chases set to bouncy music (most famously “Yakety Sax” by Boots Randolph), and lots of curvaceous women in skimpy bikinis.
Well, what was his handle?
“Handle” is citizens band radio slang for your name or call sign.
And an air freshener. You know, their rocket fuel contains no ethanol.
Ethanol is a form of alcohol that is frequently used as a fuel additive. Until corn subsidies and federal fuel guidelines forced the addition of ethanol into the fuel supply, many stations advertised their lack of ethanol because it can damage certain kinds of engines.
Hey, Buffalo Bob.
Buffalo Bob Smith (born Robert Schmidt; 1917-1998) was the host of the NBC children’s series The Howdy Doody Show from 1947 until 1960.
Why are they all English? –Cheese it! It’s the gator babe. –‘Cause they’re the only ones pale enough to simulate being out of direct sunlight.
“Cheese it!” (meaning “be quiet” or “stop it”) first appeared in published form in O. Henry’s 1908 book The Voice of the City, but it was being used in the 1800s in the United Kingdom. As to its origin, it may be a variant of the word “cease.”
Don’t rock ‘em sock ‘em us anymore. –Let me at him. Let me at him. –Break it up, you two. –I’ll moider him.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots was a popular game first produced in 1964—basically, it was two robots in a boxing ring, and you moved handles to get the robots to hit each other. It was manufactured by Louis Marx & Co.
Hey, it’s Major Kong!
Slim Pickens played Major T.J. “King” Kong, a character in the 1964 Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. His demise is one of the most famous climaxes in the history of film: he straddled a nuclear bomb and rode it, rodeo-style, from the plane all the way down to the Soviet target, thus launching World War III.
Is that what they call a crotch rocket?
“Crotch rocket” is a slang term for a sport motorcycle, usually of the annoying, high-pitched variety.
In space, no one can hear you yawn.
A paraphrase of the famous tagline for the 1979 film Alien: “In space no one can hear you scream.”
Get some tape while you’re at it, and bring me back a soda. Anything but Mr. Pibb.
Mr. Pibb is a soft drink manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company to compete with Dr. Pepper. The drink was first produced in 1972; however, in 2001, it was renamed Pibb Xtra and slightly reformulated with added cinnamon.
[Imitating Kermit.] It’s not easy being green. –[Imitating Fozzie.] Ah, frog and a bear, together again. Wocka, wocka, wocka!
Kermit the Frog is a Muppet created by Jim Henson for the Washington, D.C.-area television puppet show Sam and Friends in 1955. He was the host of The Muppet Show and the subsequent Muppet feature films, and he appeared frequently on Sesame Street. Kermit was voiced by Henson until his death in 1990; Steve Whitmire has portrayed Kermit since. Fozzie Bear (performed by Frank Oz until 2002; Eric Jacobson thereafter) is a Muppet comic who first appeared on The Muppet Show in 1976 and in its films. “Wocka, wocka, wocka” is his catchphrase.
I’m curious, but yellow.
I Am Curious (Yellow) is an avant-garde 1967 Swedish film primarily about social change that led to landmark court proceedings in the United States regarding the definition of pornography: when it was shown in Boston in 1969 (after finally being released from Customs, where it had been seized), the police confiscated it as obscene, and the case got all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled the film could legally be shown. What had raised all the fuss? Largely the scene in which Lena, the film’s female protagonist, gently kisses her lover’s flaccid penis.
He’s the meat scale you ordered. –Where’s my Mr. Pibb, though? –Oops.
See above note (even though Crow explicitly said, “Anything but Mr. Pibb.”).
Thirteen. –Eight. –Two million. –Nine. –One. –Three. –Five. –Hut, hut. –Eight six seven five three oh nine. –One. One. –Thump.
In football, “hut” is often called by quarterbacks when initiating a play. It is believed that “hut” was woven into the game thanks to the word’s use as an accent in military marches and orders (for example, “Atten-hut!”). Before “hut” became the standard, “hip,” “hup,” or any number of other monosyllabic interjections could have been used, depending on where you were. And before that, words like “hut” and “hip” were used to herd around domesticated animals, like sheep. Hmmmm ... “867-5309 (Jenny)” was a 1982 top ten hit by Tommy Tutone. The phone number itself has caused headaches for people unfortunate enough to be assigned it ever since.
Space sounds by Chuck Mangione.
Chuck Mangione is a prolific horn player who had an international instrumental hit in 1978 with “Feels So Good.” He was also a recurring character on the animated sitcom King of the Hill.
Wow. They’re so versatile. It’s kinda like Swan Lake A-Go-Go.
Swan Lake is a Russian ballet composed by Pyotr Tchaikovsky in 1876 about a cursed princess. The latter part of the riff is likely a reference to the infamous 1965 horror film Monster A-Go-Go, dealt with in MST3K Show 421.
They made some extra cash by selling this set to Donny & Marie.
Donny & Marie is a variety show that aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979 and starred sibling singers Donny and Marie Osmond.
Is that Norm Crosby? –Or Crorm Nosby.
Norm Crosby is a Borscht Belt-style comedian known especially for his malapropisms, such as drinking “decapitated” coffee and speaking from his “diagram.” He made regular appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and other variety shows in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Think he tips himself out of that? –I don’t know. He’s gonna have to file Chapter 13 with all those Moon drinks. –Well, you’re paying for the garnishes.
Under the United States Bankruptcy Code, a filing for Chapter 13, Title 11 means that an individual is allowed a court-guided plan to reorganize their debts. While this allows for debt consolidation, a Chapter 13 filing can remain on the person’s credit report for ten years.
Hey, Florence Henderson hairdo. Looks like she did it with Wesson oil.
Florence Henderson is an actress who is best known for playing quintessential mom Carol Brady on the TV sitcom The Brady Bunch (1969-1974). She was a spokesperson for Wesson from 1976 to 1996, a brand of vegetable oil widely available in supermarkets. It was first made by David Wesson in the 1890s and was the first commercially available all-vegetable shortening made from cottonseed oil.
That’s what the Skipper said.
Alan Hale (1918-1990), who also played the sheriff in Show 810, The Giant Spider Invasion, played the Skipper in the CBS sitcom Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967).
Hey, watch the Slush Puppie machine.
Slush Puppie is a brand of frozen treat sold in gas stations and convenience stores around the country. It is akin to snow cones, but there is a proprietary flavored syrup that is mixed with water and then frozen, producing the unique flavored ice pellets dispensed later on. They were first sold in 1970.
And always look like Dennis Hopper.
Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) was an actor known for his hippie ways and roles in Easy Rider (1969), Apocalypse Now (1979), and Blue Velvet (1986).
He gave him a snuggie. –In space, no one can hear a wedgie.
“Snuggie” here does not refer to the sleeved blankets that became popular around 2008-2009, but is an alternate term for a “wedgie,” the pulling of one’s underwear up and well into one’s crack. See note on Alien, above.
Look out, Big Bird!
Big Bird is a character on the classic children’s television show Sesame Street, which has aired on PBS since 1969. He is an eight-foot-two-inch yellow bird, sometimes described as a canary or golden condor. The character has been performed by Caroll Spinney since the series began, with apprentice Matt Vogel filling in from time to time.
Oh, Magic Screen!
Probably a reference to the anthropomorphized rolling drawing board with the occasional psychedelic display that appeared on the CBS Saturday morning series Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986-1990). Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) would most often play “Connect the Dots” with Magic Screen by jumping inside it and playing with whatever construct Screen devised. It was voiced by Alison Mork.
They got the spare.
In bowling, two rolls of the ball are allowed to each player each frame. If on the first roll the player fails to knock down all of the pins but succeeds on the second roll, then that player scores a spare. This means that the person has scored ten points for the frame, plus the number of pins knocked down on his or her next roll.
The Old West? In space, no one can art direct.
The “Old West” generally refers to the period in American history that took place in the second half of the 19th century, when the United States was completing its expansion to the Pacific coast. This was the era of wagon trains, frontier towns, cattle drives, outlaws, Indian raids, cowboys—all the Hollywood Western staples. See note on Alien, above.
Do you think this permanent wave is a good idea for my hair? –Looks like Big Boy.
Bob’s Big Boy is a California-based chain of diners started in 1936 by Bob Wian. The chain’s mascot is a chubby boy with a thick head of hair and spit curl wearing red and white checkered overalls while holding aloft a large burger. Wian modeled the mascot on a six-year-old regular customer, Richard Woodruff.
I said, “Bug Light.”
A reference to 1980s advertisements for Bud Light, the light beer made by Anheuser-Busch since 1982.
I have that in my shoe. –Odor eater. Thank you very much. –You’re over your credit limit. Do you have Dr. Scholl’s on you?
Odor Eaters is the name for a line of foot hygiene products created by Herbert Lapidus in the early 1970s. The namesake invention is an insole made of latex and carbon to neutralize foot odors. Dr. Scholl’s is a foot care brand started in 1906 by podiatrist William Scholl.
Oh, man. She’s cherry, man. Put on some Thrush glass packs. He’s got some twin headers with a forty-four barrel. Screams. –The van’s pretty nice, too.
Thrush is a maker of automotive parts, primarily mufflers. They’ve been in business since 1966. “Twin headers” refers to two exhaust pipes coming off the engine. “Forty-four barrel” is the millimeter measurement of the carburetor system. If I’m wrong about that stuff, feel free to correct me. I’m no motorhead.
How do you like my Moon sounds tape by Philip Glass?
Philip Glass is a minimalist composer known for his operas (Einstein on the Beach) as well as his film scores (Koyaanisqatsi, A Brief History of Time).
I know! Let’s sing car songs! You know, like “The Wiener Man.” ‘I know a Wiener Man/He owns a hot dog stand ...’ Sorry. How about another one?
“The Wiener Man” is a campfire song popular with scout-aged children.
And so, they set out in the Wiener Car in search of a giant kielbasa.
An oblique reference to the Wienermobile, an advertising vehicle shaped like a hot dog on a bun, used to promote Oscar Mayer wieners. The first Wienermobile was introduced in 1936, and they still exist in some form today.
Hey, there’s Jacques Cousteau.
Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) was a French ocean explorer and the inventor of the Aqualung, which helped him in his extensive underwater expeditions. He wrote a number of popular books about the ocean and also wrote and produced films on the same topic.
I wanna be his wiener wife. –I wanna join his wiener life.
More lyrics from the aforementioned song “The Wiener Man.”
Looks like they’re kinda crawling out of the Tupperware orange.
Tupperware is a brand of plastic storage containers that are traditionally sold at “Tupperware parties,” in which a sales representative (usually a woman) makes her pitch to a group (again, usually women) gathered at someone’s home. They were first made in 1946.
They left their dome light on. Someone’s gonna have to get a jump start. Triple A’s even gonna charge them for that one.
Triple A, a.k.a. the American Automobile Association (AAA), is an organization providing roadside assistance and other travel services to its members (roughly 45 million at last count). It was founded in 1902 in Chicago, Illinois.
Oh, brother. Her brother lived in a Porta-Potty.
Porta-Potty is one of several brand names for portable toilets usually placed at outdoor events.
A setup like that is bound to scare off trick-or-treaters.
The Halloween practice of trick-or-treating—children going door-to-door dressed up and asking for food or candy—is a concept dating back to the Middle Ages, but in the modern era, it first appears in print in 1895 Scotland, where it was called “guising.” In 1911, it was mentioned in Alberta, Canada, and then in 1920, it was referred to in Chicago. Thanks to the “Baby Boom,” trick-or-treating caught on in neighborhoods across the U.S. after World War II.
Oh, him. He’s always there. It’s a space lawn jockey. Everyone’s got one at the end of their driveway.
A lawn jockey is a small statue of a man in horse racing gear, often holding a lantern. Traditionally, the figure has been meant to portray an African-American, but that, naturally, has changed in recent decades. While many find these lawn jockeys offensive, some believe they represent Jocko Graves, an African-American youth who is said to have aided General George Washington’s surprise attack on the British in the Battle of Trenton.
See this? It’s his Nintendo. He would’ve wanted me to have it. If I had known him. I’m keeping it.
The Nintendo Entertainment System was a home video game console that debuted in 1985. It revitalized and revolutionized the home gaming industry after the gluttonous crash of 1983 (a.k.a. “The Atari Debacle”). The NES was followed in 1990 by the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), the Nintendo 64 (N64) in 1996, the Nintendo GameCube in 2001, and the Nintendo Wii in 2006. Nintendo also produced the Gameboy (released in 1989) and the DS (released in 2004) portable gaming devices, two of the best-selling video game systems ever.
Oops. Looks like we’ve got company. It’s the unwelcome wagon.
Welcome Wagon International is a company that greets new home owners with a bundle of coupons and advertisements from local businesses. For more than fifty years the company employed “hostesses” that made the home visits in person; in the U.S. that ended in 1998, when the company bowed to changing demographics and acknowledged that with so many two-income families, there was often no one home to meet a hostess. Welcome Wagon Canada continues to use home visits.
They come in great flavors, too. There’s Raspberry Red, Burnt Umber, and, of course, Chartreuse.
“Raspberry Red,” “Lemony Yellow,” “Lime Green,” “Grapity Purple,” and “Orangey Orange” were names for the flavors of Trix cereal, as mentioned in their advertisements. The cereal was introduced in 1954 by General Mills. “Burnt Umber” is a dark orange-brown color. “Chartreuse” is a yellow-green color.
Is there a seven-second delay? Can I swear?
In radio and television broadcasting, during “live” shows, broadcasters often use a tape delay in order to prevent profanity from inadvertently making it on the air and exposing them to hefty FCC fines. The tape delay is often referred to as a “seven-second delay.”
Works every time.
See above note.
Well, you got Lime Green. Just Raspberry Red and Lemon Yellow to go. –But remember: Trix are for kids.
“Trix are for kids” was the longtime tagline for the cereal, related to the constant quest of the animated Trix Rabbit (introduced in 1959) to get his paws on the cereal, only to be thwarted by meddling kids. See previous note on the cereal’s colors.
Hey, slippery guy, he’s playing possum. Told ya.
“Playing possum” is the idiomatic term for defense thanatosis, meaning pretending to be dead to protect oneself. The Virginia opossum is the best known example of this, but sometimes this defense ends up killing them when they play dead in front of an oncoming car. Poor, dumb animals.
Yeah, it’s got lawn attachments, Blaupunkt stereo, factory air ... the works.
Blaupunkt (meaning “blue dot”) is a German manufacturer of high-end electronics founded in 1923.
What? Are they driving through Snack Canyon?
In the late 1970s, the AMC theater chain used to show an animated ad for their snack bar called “Snack Canyon,” in which a group of penguins stumble across Snack Canyon and revel in all the treats available there.
Boy, I must have the zactlies. My suit’s pretty steamy.
“Zactlies” is a bit of charming slang: after a night of drinking, one wakes up with a taste in one’s mouth (or a smell on one’s breath) that tastes (or smells) “zactly” like one’s, ahem, anus.
He asked her! He asked her! Boy, I wish I were him.
A likely reference to the ending of a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch (“Cosmetic Surgery”), wherein Mr. Raymond Luxury-Yacht (pronounced “Throatwobbler Mangrove” and played by Graham Chapman) sees a plastic surgeon (played by John Cleese) about his enormous (obviously false) nose. Once the doctor removes the plastic nose, he asks Luxury-Yacht if he’d like to go on a camping holiday with him and Luxury-Yacht exults, “He asked me! He asked me!”
I’m going to Disney World.
Disney World is a family resort in Orlando, Florida, that opened for business in 1971 and includes Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom.
Suicide doors is a colloquial term for doors that open in the opposite direction of most car doors.
Wait, the jazz combo was still in there! –The day the music died.
“The Day the Music Died” refers to the February 3, 1959, airplane crash that killed pop stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. It was immortalized in the 1971 hit “American Pie” by Don McLean.
She just flopped down on that Formica.
Formica is a brand of heat-resistant plastic laminate developed by two Westinghouse engineers in 1912. They were trying to create an artificial replacement for the mineral mica, used in electrical insulation. Thus, the material was created “for mica.”
She’s really got sort of a Julie Andrews quality, doesn’t she? –Yeah, I think she got that skullcap from Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Julie Andrews is an English actress and singer best known for her roles in musicals such as Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). She also starred in 1967’s Thoroughly Modern Millie, a film about a woman pursuing the affections of her employer during the flapper era of the 1920s.
It’s a brand new car!
An imitation of any number of game shows, often The Price Is Right, wherein a new car was offered up as the ultimate prize for guessing how much a bottle of shampoo costs.
[German accent.] Hogan! I wouldn’t say anything more about that if I were you.
An imitation of Colonel Wilhelm Klink, the inept commander of the German prison camp on the CBS sitcom Hogan’s Heroes (1965-1971); the part was played by Werner Klemperer (1920-2000).
Never trust a man with a collar made of Shinyl Vinyl.
Shinyl Vinyl was a line of no-wax floors produced by the Congoleum Corporation in the 1970s.
Even Raspberry Red?
See above note.
I’m sorry. I was dreaming about rabbits.
Probably a reference to the character Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men, a 1937 short novel by John Steinbeck. Lennie has a love for soft things (including rabbits) but doesn’t know his own strength, and ... let’s just say things go tragically awry.
Hey, are those French cuffs?
French cuffs are a style of extra-long shirt sleeve cuffs, usually regarded as formal wear and requiring cuff links to keep closed.
Bury my turtle hat at Wounded Knee.
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is a 1970 book by Dee Brown on the history of American Indians in the late 1800s. That period is characterized by the displacement of native peoples by herding them off their ancestral lands and the frequent use of force against them by the superior U.S. military. A prime example would be the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 South Dakota, where 150 unarmed Sioux men, women, and children were killed by the United States Cavalry.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric arrangement of stones and excavated earth dating back some 4,500 years. Located in Wiltshire, England, the site is marked by dozens of huge, 50-ton stones. Modern theories on its purpose range from astronomical to religious.
Should I make coffee, too, Mr. Hefner?
Hugh Hefner is the founder of Playboy magazine and one of the last bastions of the 1960s bachelor lifestyle.
Music to shoot thugs by.
Music to (whatever) By is a structure of album titles dating back several decades. Perhaps the best selling was 1967’s Music to Watch Girls By from The Bob Crewe Generation. Others include Music to Shave By, Music to Suffer By, Music to Strip By, and Music to Be Murdered By.
I can fly! I can fly! I’m the luckiest boy in the world!
Probably a reference to Pee-wee Herman (Paul Reubens) and his famous 1981 HBO special The Pee-wee Herman Show. At the end of the show, his wish to fly is granted by Jambi the genie.
Works every time.
See above note.
Yah! Yee-ha! Yah! –Whooo!
See above note on Major Kong.
What’s that one song? –Oh, “The Wiener Man” song? –Yeah, how’s that go? –Oh, um ... –We have to get out of here. –“I wanna be your wiener man. I’ll be your wiener man.” –Yeah.
See above note.