Oh, Capitol Critters is on.
Capitol Critters was a 1992 animated TV series about a group of animals, including a mouse, a rat, and a cockroach, that lived in the walls of the White House.
Why do they have the Blue Mosque as their symbol?
The Blue Mosque, one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks, was completed in 1616; it was built by architect Mehmed Aga for Sultan Ahmed I.
And Delta Burke as Delilah.
Delta Burke (b. 1956) is an actress best known for her role in the television series Designing Women, which ran from 1986-1993.
You know, suddenly I’m in the mood for a Black Castle hamburger.
White Castle is a chain of fast food burger restaurants founded in 1921. Its burgers are also available through vending machines and in the frozen food sections of grocery stores.
Remember, they’re vampire women, so get ready with the Cher jokes.
Cher (b. 1946 under the name Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre) is a singer and actress who has appeared on various television shows and in films. She first rose to fame as the co-host of a series of TV variety shows with her then-husband, Sonny Bono.
What you call hell, Ramos calls photography.
A reference to a line in the 1982 Sylvester Stallone vehicle Rambo: First Blood. The actual line: "What you choose to call hell, he calls home." (Thanks to Gami Cross for spotting this reference.)
With special assistance by G. Gordon Liddy.
G. Gordon Liddy was the special counsel for President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972, the Committee to Re-elect the President, or CREEP. On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate in Washington, D.C.; the resulting scandal led to Nixon’s resignation to avoid being impeached. The five, along with Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, a former White House aide, were charged with burglary and wiretapping; Liddy was convicted and spent four and a half years in prison. He later became the host of a conservative radio talk show and earned fresh notoriety in 1994 when he advised listeners to aim for the head when shooting at ATF agents.
I dreamed I visited El Manderley last night.
A paraphrase of the opening line of Daphne du Maurier’s romantic novel Rebecca, which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”
[Sung.] Yes, the movie sucks, Fernando.
A paraphrase of the ABBA song “Fernando.” The actual lyrics: “Can you hear the drums, Fernando?”
Fabian Forte (b. 1943), known professionally as Fabian, was a teen idol during the late 1950s and 1960s. He has recorded dozens of albums and acted in more than 30 films, including Ten Little Indians, The Longest Day, and Thunder Alley.
One of Newt’s orphanages here.
Newt Gingrich (b. 1943) became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1995 after the Republicans took control of the House in the so-called “Republican Revolution.” As part of the Republicans’ agenda, dubbed the “Contract with America,” Gingrich proposed taking the children of women on welfare away from their mothers and placing them in orphanages.
I’ll be back, Alfred.
A reference to the comic book superhero Batman. In his secret identity, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne, Batman has a loyal butler named Alfred.
This is like Miss Havisham’s summer place.
Miss Havisham is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. Miss Havisham is a bitter and reclusive old woman, clad in the decaying remains of a wedding dress, which she has worn ever since she was jilted on her wedding day years earlier. As her revenge, she has raised a girl named Estella to be a plague on men: beautiful, cold, and heartless, Estella breaks the hero Pip’s heart.
Suzanne Pleshette (b. 1937) is an actress who has appeared in more than 50 movies and television shows, including The Birds (1963) and Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971).
Someone taped over Seinfeld!
Seinfeld was a television sitcom starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld that aired from 1990-1998. It was consistently one of the top-rated shows throughout its run—not bad for a show that purported to be about “nothing.”
Oh, it’s Ginger Rogers.
Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) was a singer, dancer, and actress who was best known for being paired with Fred Astaire (1899-1987) in such films as Flying Down to Rio (1933) and Top Hat (1935).
Let the Cher jokes begin. –Hey! It looks like Cher!
See note on Cher, above.
Founded in 1948, Wham-O is the company behind such classic toys as the Frisbee, the Superball, and the hula hoop.
Boy, Angie Dickinson has hit a rough spot.
Angie Dickinson (b. 1931) is an actress who has appeared in more than a hundred movies and television shows, including Ocean’s 11 (1960), Police Woman (1974-1978), and Dressed to Kill (1980).
She’s dressed like Jeremiah Johnson.
Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 film starring Robert Redford as a reclusive mountain man who inadvertently becomes the target of a vendetta by the Crow Indians.
[Sung] Oh, what a beautiful morning ...
A line from the song “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “Oh what a beautiful morning/Oh what a beautiful day.”
This is back when glam rock was really big.
Glam rock was a blip in the history of music, originating in England in the early 1970s and lasting only a handful of years. It was characterized by outrageous costumes and makeup and over-the-top theatricality. Practitioners included David Bowie (during his Ziggy Stardust era), Gary Glitter, and Queen.
All right, Marines, grab your socks and drop your ... socks.
A considerably cleaner version of the classic armed forces wake-up call: “Drop your cocks and grab your socks.”
Lee Pharmaceuticals is the manufacturer of a number of nail-care products, of which the most famous is Lee Press-on Nails, artificial nails with an adhesive backing.
Chinese fire drill.
Chinese fire drills were a prank popular in the 1960s, in which all the occupants in a car stopped at a red light would get out and run around the car before diving back in, not necessarily in their original seats.
Platformate entered the common lexicon through a series of ads for Shell gasoline back in the 1960s that bragged about its mysterious ingredient, Platformate, that dramatically improved performance.
The eczema support group meets in the basement.
Eczema, a.k.a. dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy skin, which in severe cases can become cracked, raw, and bleeding.
Some of them went on to start Hole.
Hole is a Los Angeles alternative rock band founded in 1989 by Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson. The band earned a small but intense following after the release of its first album, Pretty on the Inside, but it gained much wider fame through Love’s marriage to Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Seattle grunge rock pioneers Nirvana.
[Sung.] Rhiannon ...
A line from the song “Rhiannon" by Fleetwood Mac. Sample lyrics: “Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night/And wouldn't you love to love her/She rules her life like a bird in flight/And who will be her lover ..." (Thanks to Mike Grunwald for this reference.)
Mexico really needs a Martha Stewart.
Martha Stewart is an author, television host, and entrepreneur whose business is centered on beautiful living and domesticity: decorating, cooking, crafts, flower arranging, and so on. She hosts a syndicated weekly television show, publishes a magazine (Martha Stewart Living), and offers her own line of house paint.
Another successful Jose Eber makeover.
Jose Eber is one of the most successful and well-known hairstylists in the world. His Jose Eber Salon in Beverly Hills attracts dozens of celebrity clients, including Cher, Meg Ryan, and Barbra Streisand. Eber was the man behind Farrah Fawcett’s famous feathered do on Charlie’s Angels.
Ah, yes, the three Russian aviators.
A reference to the classic Marx Brothers movie A Night at the Opera (1935). The brothers stow away on board a ship headed for New York, and in order to get past immigration, Harpo steals the uniforms (and beards) of three famed Russian aviators traveling as passengers.
The Dead! Cucamonga! Magnolia!
The Grateful Dead is a famed rock band from the heyday of the 1960s. Two of their better-known songs are “The Pride of Cucamonga” and “Sugar Magnolia.”
Tim Allen is an actor and comedian who is best known for playing Tim Taylor on the television series Home Improvement, which aired from 1991-1999. He has also appeared in such movies as Galaxy Quest (1999) and Big Trouble (2002).
Comedian Jackie Mason has had tremendous success on Broadway with a string of one-man shows. He has also appeared in TV shows and movies, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jerk.
An imitation of actor Bob Denver as the hapless crewman Gilligan on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, which aired from 1964-1967.
It’s the Pips!
Gladys Knight and the Pips was one of the most popular R&B groups of the 1960s and 1970s. The Pips, consisting of Merald “Bubba” Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten, were the backup singers on such songs as “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”
It’s like a Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company.
Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company is a chain of steakhouses found around the country; in addition to steak, they serve ribs, chicken, seafood, and pasta.
Which one is Brad Pitt?
Brad Pitt is an actor and certified Hollywood hunk who was launched to fame after he took his shirt off in 1991’s Thelma and Louise. He was horribly miscast as the aristocratic vampire Louis in the 1994 film version of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
So she was Nora Dunn two hundred years ago?
Nora Dunn is an actress and comedian who was a regular cast member on the TV series Saturday Night Live from 1985-1990. Since then she has appeared in a number of films, including Bulworth (1998) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
[Sung.] As time goes on ...
A reference to the song "Colour My World" by Chicago. Sample lyrics: "As time goes on/I realize/Just what you mean/To me ..." (Thanks to Sampo for this reference.)
I dedicate this song to Thorazine.
Thorazine is an antipsychotic drug used to treat people suffering from schizophrenia.
She’s auditioning for Freddy De Cordova.
Frederick De Cordova (1910-2001) was a producer and director of such films as Bedtime for Bonzo (starring future president Ronald Reagan) and Finders Keepers. He was much more successful on television, working on Leave It to Beaver and My Three Sons. His most famous gig was as the executive producer of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show, for which he won five Emmys.
Now Dean Martin’s gonna come in and jump on the piano.
Dean Martin (1917-1995) was a singer and actor, a member of the Rat Pack of actors led by Frank Sinatra. He got his start as half of the Martin and Lewis comedy team , which propelled him and partner Jerry Lewis to superstardom. Martin was considered the epitome of 1950s cool, and his persona as a hard-drinking playboy persisted throughout his film career in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Mexican Larry Tate. –El Stevens!
Larry Tate was a character on the television series Bewitched, which aired from 1964-1972. The role was played by actor David White (1916-1990). Tate was the neurotic boss of Darrin Stevens, who was played at various points by Dick York and Dick Sargent.
Just like Count Basie. One more time!
Count Basie (1904-1984) was an American jazz musician known for his spare and economical piano playing. He led the Count Basie Orchestra, which had numerous hits during the 1930s and 1940s. He formed a second orchestra during the 1950s and 1960s and continued as a bandleader until shortly before his death in 1984.
Beethoven, from the grave, renounces his great work.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer considered by many the greatest musician who ever lived. Many of the Romantic composers of the nineteenth century were heavily influenced by his work.
Hey, great. You know that thing from “Peanuts”?
“Peanuts” is a comic strip created by Charles Schulz (1922-2000). The strip was first published in 1950 and was later turned into several successful television specials. The theme music for the TV shows is a very well known piano piece.
General Hospital is a television soap opera that first aired in 1963. It hit its peak of popularity in the 1980s with its romance between Luke Spencer (played by Anthony Geary) and Laura Gray Vining Webber Baldwin Cassadine Spencer (played by Genie Francis). MST has aired several General Hospital shorts: on Show 413, Manhunt in Space; Show 415, The Beatniks; and Show 417, Crash of the Moons.
If bats got into his hair, they’d drown in the Vaseline.
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly; the company also manufactures a line of skin care products, including moisturizers and bath beads.
He’s got a picture of Reddy Kilowatt.
Reddy Kilowatt is a “corporate spokestoon” created in 1926 for the Alabama Power Company. A small figure that looks like a lightning bolt, Reddy has been licensed by more than 200 companies and has appeared in cartoons, on stationery, on billboards, and in newspaper and magazine ads. Reddy is currently the property of the Northern States Power Company, which bought the character in 1998.
I’ll consult my sacred roll of Brawny.
Brawny is a brand of paper towels manufactured by Georgia-Pacific.
Ah, they let Billy draw today’s scroll.
A reference to the comic strip “Family Circus,” created by Bil Keane. Keane periodically publishes cartoons that look as if they were drawn by a small child, claiming that they were drawn by “Billy,” the seven-year-old son in the strip.
Her tragic destiny was announced by her parents of Red Wing, Minnesota.
Red Wing, Minnesota is a small town on the Mississippi River, population 16,000. It is home to Red Wing Shoes and Red Wing Pottery.
Butterfield 8 is a 1960 film starring Elizabeth Taylor as a call girl who gets romantically involved with an unhappily married lawyer (played by Laurence Harvey).
Now, when was I a Flying Leatherneck?
“Flying Leathernecks” is the name for Marine aviators; Marines were called Leathernecks because they wore a leather band around their necks during the 19th century to protect them from sword blows. There was a 1951 film called Flying Leathernecks that starred John Wayne as the leader of a squadron of Marine aviators in World War II.
I shouldn’t have gotten drunk at Sturgis.
Sturgis is a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is host to an annual biker rally every August that draws more than half a million motorcyclists.
Well, I suppose I have to read her The Very Hungry Caterpillar again.
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.
Garth Hudson is outside.
Garth Hudson (b. 1937) is the keyboardist for The Band and has also played as a backup musician for John Hammond Jr. and Bob Dylan.
You’re getting Pond's on my suit.
Pond's is a brand of cold cream used as a facial cleanser.
This is vampire wilding!
“Wilding” was a media term coined in 1989 after a gang of teenagers allegedly raped and bludgeoned a young female investment banker who was jogging in Central Park. Five of them confessed to the brutal crime, although they later recanted, claiming the confessions had been coerced by police, who were under intense pressure to solve the crime. The attack was the subject of many a hand-wringing newspaper editorial on the theme that civilization was on the verge of collapse. Unfortunately for the cause of histrionic journalism, in 2002 DNA evidence exonerated the teens, pinning the crime instead on a known rapist named Matias Reyes, already in prison for a series of rapes and a murder. In December 2002, the teens’ convictions were set aside.
I’m Coco Chanel.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971) was a legendary fashion designer whose name became a household word during the 1920s. Her design house remains a leader in haute couture, and the name Chanel is synonymous with expensive, elegant clothing.
Ah, the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe is a theme restaurant/store chain whose ersatz trees and ambient nature sounds can be found in concrete and glass shopping malls around the country.
The torture of Don DeFore.
Don DeFore (1913-1993) was an actor who played supporting roles in a number of films during the 1940s, but he found real success on television, where he played “Thorny” Thornberry on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet from 1952-1961.
They’re worshiping a giant Toblerone.
Toblerone is a triangular chocolate bar made by Swiss candy manufacturer Tobler.
It’s a Mandrell Sisters Halloween special.
Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters was a television variety show that aired from 1980-1982 and starred country-music singers Barbara, Louise, and Irlene Mandrell. The series was produced by kid-vid puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft and featured weekly guest stars on the order of Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs.
She looks like a Magic Eye picture.
Magic Eye pictures are stereograms—brain teasers that have a 3D image embedded into a seemingly random assortment of black and white patterns. They were invented in the early 1990s and quickly became enormously popular; books of Magic Eye images were published, and they were syndicated in newspapers nationwide.
[Sung.] Woke up, got out of bed/Dragged a comb across my head.
A line from the Beatles song “A Day in the Life.” Actual lyrics: “Woke up, fell out of bed/Dragged my comb across my head.”
The making of the International Male catalog.
The International Male catalog has been peddling men’s clothing and accessories for a quarter-century.
I ordered a Tom Collins.
A Tom Collins is a cocktail made with gin, sour mix, and soda and garnished with an orange slice and a cherry.
We’re out of blood. Is Pepsi okay?
Pepsi is a cola first marketed in 1898 by pharmacist Caleb Bradham. The soft drink is the chief rival to Coca-Cola in the marketplace.
Demi Moore. Michael Douglas. Disclosure.
Demi Moore (b. 1962) is an actress who was part of the original Brat Pack in the 1980s; she subsequently became famous for taking her clothes off in a succession of movies. Michael Douglas (b. 1944), son of actor Kirk Douglas, is a Hollywood leading man who has starred in such films as Romancing the Stone (1984) and Fatal Attraction (1987). In 1994, the two co-starred in Disclosure, a film about a man who is sexually harassed by his female boss.
Body by Jake.
Jake Steinfeld, the founder of Body by Jake Enterprises, is a personal trainer whose clients include Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Bette Midler. His company offers exercise equipment and other fitness products.
Who wants blood? –I do, I do!
This is a take on the old advertising slogan for Trident chewing gum: “Who wants Trident? I do! I do!”
Can you imagine the huge apocalyptic grease fire if they threw Rush Limbaugh in there?
Rush Limbaugh (b. 1951) is a conservative commentator who helped lead the conservative talk radio revolution in the 1990s. His legions of fans were dubbed “dittoheads” for their loyal support of everything Limbaugh said. In 2001 Limbaugh announced that he was going deaf, but he continued to do his radio show.
Hey, it’s Big Ethel!
In the old Archie comic books and animated television series, Big Ethel was Jughead’s girlfriend.
I’m just waiting for that click, Maggie.
A reference to the character of Brick from the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The play was made into a movie in 1958, which starred Elizabeth Taylor as Maggie and Paul Newman as Brick.
Anna Maria Alberghetti!
Anna Maria Alberghetti (b. 1936) is an actress and singer who starred in a number of movies for Paramount and went on to an impressive stage career, making her Broadway debut in the 1961 musical Carnival.
She’s the Thelma Ritter of the group.
Thelma Ritter (1905-1969) was an actress who played supporting roles in a number of films; her best-known role was probably as the outspoken nurse in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1954 thriller Rear Window.
Sade (b. 1959) is a Nigerian-born singer (full name Sade Adu) who hit it big in the mid-1980s with such hits as “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator.” She continued to record throughout the 1990s; her album Lovers Rock was released in 2000.
[Sung.] Your love is king ...
A line from the Sade song of the same name. See previous note on Sade.
Is this Joe Cocker here in the foreground?
Joe Cocker (b. 1944) 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, why did I agree to proofread this Michener novel?
James Michener (1907-1997) was an American author known for his massive novels, including Hawaii and Texas.
Transfer the county’s funds to derivatives ...
In 1994, Orange County in Southern California became the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, having lost $1.7 billion of its $7.4 billion investment pool. County Treasurer Robert Citron made heavily leveraged investments in extremely risky derivative securities, a bet that did not pay off.
I look like Vincent Price.
Vincent Price (1911-1993) was an actor known for countless roles in B-grade horror films. His distinctive voice and lanky frame graced such movies as House of Wax, The Fly, and Pit and the Pendulum. He also hosted the PBS series Mystery from 1981-1989.
Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1959.
A paraphrase of a line from the Prince song “1999.” The actual lyrics: “2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time!/So 2night I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!”
Jeeves’ final years: exiled in Mexico.
Jeeves was the creation of British author P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), the quintessential “gentleman’s gentleman,” who acted as an impeccable manservant to Wodehouse’s bumbling Bertie Wooster in such books as Much Obliged, Jeeves. Jeeves made his first appearance in print in 1917 and his last in 1971.
He looks like the guy from House Party. –Oh, yeah, it’s Kid! Or Play.
House Party is a 1990 film starring Christopher Reid (a.k.a. Kid) and Christopher Martin (a.k.a. Play), two young men with extremely weird hair, as friends determined to party despite groundings, stern fathers, and school bullies.
It’s a rockin’ party, what with the Strauss and the dancing ...
Johann Strauss (1825-1899) was an Austrian composer known especially for his waltzes, of which “The Blue Danube” is the most famous. (“The Blue Danube” waltz is the music playing in the background during the party scene.)
Mickey Spillane, locked out of another society party.
Mickey Spillane (b. 1918) is an author of hard-boiled detective fiction starring Mike Hammer, a hard-drinking, hard-fighting, quick-shooting, quintessentially American detective—Sam Spade without Dashiell Hammett’s literary pretensions.
[Sung.] I have often stalked down this lane before ...
This is a paraphrase of a line from the song “On the Street Where You Live,” from the musical My Fair Lady. The actual lyrics: “I have often walked down this street before/But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before/All at once am I/Several stories high/Knowing I’m on the street where you live.”
So then, I sailed around Cape Hope, and King Ferdinand, he’s a really good friend of mine ...
This appears to be a reference to Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias (c. 1450-1500), who in 1488 became the first European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, opening a sea route to the riches of Asia. However, the king of Portugal at the time was John II. King Ferdinand was the king of Spain, who sponsored Christopher Columbus’ expedition that discovered the New World in 1492.
You killed one of the Dutch Masters, you fiends!
The Dutch Masters were a group of painters from the Netherlands during the 17th century, which included Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Frans Hals (1581-1666), and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669).
Eew, Giorgio makes me gag!
According to the FragranceWholesale.com Web site, Giorgio perfume, manufactured by Giorgio of Beverly Hills, is “a romantic, sharp, floral fragrance” that “possesses a blend of rose, gardenia, sandalwood, orange flower, jasmine, carnation, lily of the valley, and hyacinth.”
You are not the Kissingers!
Henry Kissinger (b. 1923) was the Secretary of State under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was one of the major architects of Nixon’s Vietnam War policy, including the secret bombing of Cambodia. He was married twice: first to Ann Fleischer and then to Nancy Maginnes.
Maybelline—fine makeup, sensibly priced.
Maybelline is a brand of moderately priced cosmetics sold in groceries and drugstores worldwide.
I will get your Cream of Wheat.
Cream of Wheat is a wheat farina porridge that was first sold in 1893. It is produced by Kraft Foods.
You know, once you go Cossack, you never go back.
Cossacks were originally a tribal people from the Black Sea region. They enjoyed a semi-autonomous status under the Russians in exchange for their services in protecting the Russian borders. They became famous for their military prowess.
[Sung.] Ten minutes ago, I met you/And we murmured a how do you do ...
A paraphrase of the song “Ten Minutes Ago,” written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for a 1965 television production of Cinderella, starring Lesley Ann Warren. The actual lyrics: “Ten minutes ago, I met you/And we murmured our how do you dos ...”
I should tell you that some time ago a prophecy was spoken of ... oh, what the hell. Give me another Black Russian.
A Black Russian is a cocktail consisting of vodka and coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlua, served over ice.
I just realized this is a totally boring party. Let’s bring out the peyote.
The peyote cactus is native to southern Texas and northern Mexico. It has hallucinogenic properties and featured in the ceremonies of some Native American religions.
Oh, Mr. Wayne ...
An imitation of Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred from the Batman comic books. See note on Alfred, above.
[Sung.] The Batman theme.
This is the theme to the 1966 television series Batman, starring Adam West.
He’s got the ball at the 20, the 10 ... he could go all the way.
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 sports casting, calling pro football “a stagnant bore.”
The undead recruits of the WWF.
The World Wrestling Federation (WWF) is the pro wrestling league behind the television shows Raw and Smackdown, Wrestlemania pay-per-view, live wrestling tours, and umpteen other wrestling-intensive franchises.
Where are the cocktail weenies?
Cocktail wieners are canned, two-inch-long hot dogs, generally used as buffet fodder.
Well, now I’ve got to call Joan Embery.
Joan Embery, the “Goodwill Ambassador” for the San Diego Zoo, has appeared on numerous talk shows, accompanied by various zoo denizens.
The Malibu Getaway Car.
This appears to be a reference to the pink convertible driven by Barbie dolls; one classic model of Barbie doll is the Malibu Barbie.
Do you think you can still schottische?
The schottische is a ballroom dance that became popular in Europe around 1850; it was also known as the Hungarian waltz and the Bavarian polka.
All right, you folks need to turn down the Strauss a little bit—there’s been some complaints.
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
No, I don't know the count and the amount.
On "Dialing for Dollars," a segment popular on local TV shows during the 1960s and 1970s, the TV host would call a random number and ask if they knew a preselected number (the count) that had been announced on the show; if the person had been watching faithfully, they would win a cash prize (the amount). (Thanks to Sampo for this reference.)
“Her escort was kidnapped.” They kidnapped her car? What was the point of that?
The Ford Escort model debuted in the United States in 1981, although a version had been available in Europe prior to that date. Escorts sold well in the small-car class throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000 Ford began to phase out the line and replace it with the Focus.
“Now that’s an idea.” Put the cheese inside the cracker.
Probably a reference to Combos, hollowed-out pretzels containing various flavors of soft fillings. Varieties include Cheddar Cheese, Nacho Cheese, and Pepperoni Pizza.
An imitation of Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor on the TV show Bewitched. (Thanks to Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
[Sung.] You’re a mean one, Mister ...
A line from the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from the classic animated Christmas special How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss and the music was by Albert Hague. Sample lyrics: “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch/You really are a heel/You’re as cuddly as a cactus/You’re as charming as an eel/Mr. Grinch.”
Now let’s get back to the party and Strauss out!
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
Let’s get you back to The Lawrence Welk Show.
The Lawrence Welk Show was a television series that ran from 1955-1982. It was a variety show featuring skits and musical numbers; host Lawrence Welk (1903-1992) led the band.
Okay, Shelly: Truth, dare, double dare, promise to repeat?
A reference to the perennial slumber party game Truth or Dare. A player is asked to choose from a number of options; sometimes there are only two choices: truth, in which the player must answer truthfully an embarrassing question chosen by the other players, and dare, in which the player must perform an embarrassing act chosen by the other players. Other variants include “double dare,” which carries a penalty, usually a hard two-fingered hit on the wrist, and “promise to repeat,” in which the penalty is a double dare.
Phyllis Newman has gone nuts!
Phyllis Newman (b. 1933) is an actress who has appeared in a number of films and television series, including Mannequin and the soap opera One Life to Live. She has also worked as a makeup artist on films and TV.
Fiends are visiting from Europe.
This appears to be a reference to a series of shampoo commercials done in the 1970s starring Polish actress Rula Lenska. (Thanks to reader TServo2049 for identifying this reference.)
It’s Lucy Ricardo—she wants to be in the show.
Lucy Ricardo was the name of the character played by Lucille Ball on the television series I Love Lucy, which aired from 1951-1957. Lucy Ricardo was a bumbling housewife who was perennially plotting to horn in on her bandleader husband’s show-business career.
This isn’t Strauss!
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
Two for the Vikings—I’ve got two for the Vikings ...
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional football team based in Minneapolis.
Ah, Danny DeVito has arrived.
Danny DeVito (b. 1944) is an actor and director who came to fame playing irascible dispatcher Louie De Palma on the TV series Taxi, which aired from 1978-1983. He has appeared in many films, including Batman Returns and L.A. Confidential; his directing credits include Death to Smoochy and War of the Roses.
Ew, they’re making the beast with two butts.
“Making the beast with two backs” is a slang term for the act of sexual intercourse.
They were the inspiration for the Pilobolus dance company.
The Pilobolus Dance Theatre is a dance troupe based in Connecticut. It has toured around the world and appeared on television and in dance festivals.
I was sent by Fantasygram.
I was unable to find a specific service called “Fantasygram,” but it appears to be a reference to that tasteful variation on the singing telegram, the “strippergram,” in which a victim’s friends pay to have a stripper show up at his home or office and put on a brief show.
[Sung.] When a man loves a wrestler ...
This is a paraphrase of the song “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which has been performed variously by Percy Sledge, Michael Bolton, and Bette Midler. Sample lyrics: “When a man loves a woman/Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else/He’ll trade the world/For the good thing he found.”
Mr. Wrestler, are you trying to seduce me?
A paraphrase of the world-famous line from 1967 film The Graduate, spoken by Dustin Hoffman to Anne Bancroft: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”
This scene was cut out of Spartacus.
Spartacus was a 1960 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It starred Kirk Douglas as the slave who leads a revolt against the Roman Empire. In 1991 a restored version was released that made explicit the previously subliminal homoerotic relationship between Marcus Licinius Crassus, played by Laurence Olivier, and Antoninus, played by Tony Curtis.
Oh, it’s a Robert Mapplethorpe photo session.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his homoerotic photographs of nude men. In 1990, a planned retrospective of his work at a Washington, D.C, museum was canceled after conservatives kicked up a ruckus over the “pornographic” content of some of the photos. Because the exhibit was to have been partly funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, it launched a debate over whether the government should be involved in funding art that some taxpayers might find offensive. That same year, the curator of a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested on obscenity charges over the exhibit; he was later acquitted.
Come to the dark side or I’ll take your lunch money!
“Come to the dark side” is a reference to the Star Wars trilogy, although I believe Darth Vader never actually uses that phrase in urging Luke Skywalker to join him in turning to the dark side of the Force; it thus enters popular culture alongside “Play it again, Sam” and “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
This is one of the weirder parts of the Menendez trial.
In August 1989, brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez shot and killed their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hills mansion. At first the two brothers claimed they had been at the movies when their parents were killed; later, they admitted to the killings but claimed they were acting in self-defense after years of physical and sexual abuse. Prosecutors argued the true motive was Jose Menendez’s $14 million fortune. The first trial ended in a hung jury; at the second trial the two young men were convicted of first-degree murder. In 1996 they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
I can see why Cyndi Lauper loves this sport so.
Cyndi Lauper (b. 1953) is a pop singer who first made it big in 1983 with the release of her album She’s So Unusual. The album sold 9 million copies and produced four top 10 singles, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” She continued to release albums throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but none matched the success of her first album. She also was the manager for several pro wrestlers, including Wendi Richter.
Andy El Kaufman!
Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) was a comedian and actor who was known for pulling bizarre stunts as part of his concert performances, like the time he took his entire Carnegie Hall audience out for milk and cookies via 35 waiting buses. A wrestling act was part of his performances for years; he often wrestled women, including Playboy centerfold Susan Smith. He had a legendary “feud” with pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, which culminated in a 1982 fistfight during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Lawler has since confirmed that the fight was staged and claims that the two were quite good friends in real life.
You know, the second Schmeling-Satan fight went on for 15 rounds.
Max Schmeling was a German heavyweight boxer who fought two legendary bouts with American boxer Joe Louis. In the first of these matches, fought in 1936, Schmeling knocked out Louis in the twelfth round. The rematch, which took place in 1938 as Nazi Germany was gearing up for war, was seen as a symbolic clash between Nazism and democracy; democracy scored a resounding victory when Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round. Schmeling served as a German paratrooper in WWII and continued his boxing career after the war ended, retiring in 1948.
This is what would happen if Don King took over opera.
Don King (b. 1931) is a legendary boxing promoter who first rose to prominence promoting the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He managed seven of Ali’s title bouts, including the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier, considered one of the greatest boxing matches of all time. He also promoted fights with other boxing greats, including Sugar Ray Leonard, Leon Spinks, and Mike Tyson.
Ah, yes, the sport John Irving wrote about so eloquently.
Author John Irving (The World According to Garp) is a wrestling fanatic who has a regulation-size wrestling mat in his home gym. T.S. Garp, the hero of The World According to Garp, works as a wrestling coach (as has Irving), and he wrote a memoir about his wrestling experiences, The Imaginary Girlfriend.
This is very much like The Quiet Man, except they’re Mexicans in tights and one of them is the devil.
The Quiet Man (1952) is a film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an Irish-American boxer who returns to Ireland to reclaim his family’s homestead and falls in love with his chief rival’s sister, played by Maureen O’Hara.
I bet the whole place smells like Brie by now.
Brie is a soft cow’s-milk cheese named for the area in northeastern France where it originated.
Samson trained by watching Road Runner cartoons.
The Road Runner was a character created by animator Chuck Jones (1912-2002) for Warner Brothers animated shorts. In the cartoons, the hapless Wile E. Coyote tries various elaborate schemes to catch and eat the speedy Road Runner, whose cheeky “Meep! Meep!” sound was usually the only dialogue to be heard.
That’s going to be Peter Lopez.
Peter Lopez (b.1981) is a taekwondo champion who won the silver medal at the World Taekwondo championships in 2001.
It’s an Oak Ridge Boy!
The Oak Ridge Boys are a longtime country-music band that have been performing, in various lineups, since 1943. Their hits include “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” and “Dream On.”
Pan, Texas Ranger.
Walker, Texas Ranger was a television series that aired from 1993-2001. It starred martial artist Chuck Norris as Cordell Walker, a Texas lawman who fought crime with his partner, Jimmy Trivette. Pan was a fertility deity in ancient Greek mythology who had the horns, legs, and ears of a goat.
Mothra is attacking the city!
Mothra was a 1961 Japanese monster movie about a giant moth that levels Tokyo. Mothra went up against the quintessential Japanese monster in 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla.
Run! It’s Butch Patrick!
Butch Patrick (b. 1953) is an actor who played Eddie Munster on the television series The Munsters, which aired from 1964-1966.
This is Howard Cosell. How can this be considered a legitimate sport?
See note on Howard Cosell, above.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Judds.
Naomi and Wynonna Judd are a mother/daughter country-western duo whose hits include “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “I Saw the Light.” Naomi retired in 1991 after being diagnosed with hepatitis C. Wynonna continued to tour on her own, and in 2000 the duo reunited for their “Power to Change” tour.
[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.”
Lillian Hellman on a bad day.
Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) was a playwright and screenwriter whose best-known works include The Children’s Hour and The Little Foxes. She had a long-term relationship with novelist Dashiell Hammett that lasted until his death in 1961.
The food here is terrible! –And the portions so small.
This is a joke from the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall. The actual line: “There’s an old joke. Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort, and one of them says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know, and such small portions.’ That’s essentially how I feel about life.”
Where devils go, trouble follows.
This is a reference to the 1968 film Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, starring Rosalind Russell and Stella Stevens.
It’s the vampire version of Goodfellas.
Goodfellas is a 1990 Martin Scorsese film about three mobsters working their way up through the ranks of the Mafia. It stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci.
The Keystone Vampires.
The Keystone Kops were a group of wildly incompetent policemen who starred in a series of short silent films for Mack Sennett’s Keystone Film Co. between 1912 and 1917. Their films include Hoffmeyer’s Legacy and The Bangville Police.
Circus of the Network Vampires.
Circus of the Stars was an annual television special that ran from 1977 to 1991. It featured assorted actors performing traditional circus acts. Performers in the first Circus included George Hamilton and Lynda Carter; performers in 1991 included William Katt and Tracy Scoggins. There was a similar show called Battle of the Network Stars that featured teams of actors competing in various events; those specials ran from 1976-1984.
I’m gettin’ too old for these raves.
Raves are dance parties, often underground events, in which participants, often teenagers, dance all night to techno music, wave glowsticks, and experience a feeling of total love for and harmony with their fellow man—often enhanced by heaping doses of Ecstasy.
The Flying Nosferatu Brothers.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers are a troupe of jugglers who have been performing since 1973 everywhere from street corners to Lincoln Center. They are named after the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel The Brothers Karamazov. Nosferatu is a 1922 silent film by famed German director F.W Murnau; it starred Max Schreck as the Dracula-esque Count Orlock.
Death Race Liberace.
Death Race 2000 is a 1975 about a brutal cross-country road race that starred David Carradine and a large fella named Sylvester Stallone, who one year later made a little film called Rocky. Liberace (1919-1987) was a flamboyant performer known for his elaborate costumes, candelabra, and performances on his custom grand piano. His syndicated TV series The Liberace Show aired from 1952-1969.
Our Lady of Fatima is back, and she’s pissed.
From May-October 1917, three children in Fatima, Portugal, reported repeated visitations by a vision of the Virgin Mary, who was dubbed Our Lady of Fatima. She gave three messages to the children; the first two were made public and have generally been considered to have predicted the world wars and the eventual fall of communism. The third was kept secret by the Church until 2000, when it announced the message had predicted the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
It’s a sign that says “Wall Drug, 10,000 miles.”
Wall Drug is a pharmacy/tourist trap in the tiny town of Wall, South Dakota. It employs some third of the town’s residents to tend to the free ice-water well, the bucking bronco, the fiberglass jackalope, the miniature Mount Rushmore, the animatic bears, and, as an afterthought, the pharmacy. For years it blanketed the nation’s highways with signs advising motorists of how far they were from Wall Drug, although most of the signs outside South Dakota no longer exist.
Edges light quickly.
This is an old slogan for Kingsford charcoal; it appeared in many an MST episode.
Just as soon as I finish this Jumble.
Jumble is a scrambled word game that appears in daily newspapers around the country; they also have a “junior” version aimed at kids.
“I think ...” ... therefore I am.
This is a translation of French philosopher Rene Descartes’ famous statement “Cogito ergo sum.”
John Forsythe in Bachelor Father!
Bachelor Father was a television series that aired from 1957-1962. It starred John Forsythe (b. 1918) as Bentley Gregg, a bachelor who finds himself in charge of his teenage niece Kelly. Forsythe went on to play the voice of “Charlie” on Charlie’s Angels and patriarch Blake Carrington on the prime-time soap Dynasty.
Meanwhile, in Little Chute, Wisconsin ...
Little Chute is a small town on the Fox River in Wisconsin, about halfway between Green Bay and Oshkosh. Population: 10,000.
Maybe if Cortes had never conquered Montezuma, we would not have had to watch this movie.
In 1519, Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes landed on the coast of Mexico. The Aztec Empire, ruled by Montezuma, was embroiled in a political crisis that made it easy pickings for Cortes’ 500 men. He captured Montezuma, laid siege to the capital city of Tenochtitlan, and by 1521 had conquered the empire.
[Sung.] Go, El Santo/Go, El Santo/Go, El Santo, go.
A paraphrase of the theme song to the Japanese animated show Speed Racer. The actual lyrics: “Go Speed Racer/Go Speed Racer/Go Speed Racer go.”
The action’s in the Ardennes.
The Ardennes is a wooded plateau stretching across parts of Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. It was the location of horrific battles in 1914 and 1918 during World War I and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
[Sung.] See the Mexico/In your Chevrolet.
This is a paraphrase of an old advertising jingle sung by Dinah Shore. The actual lyrics: “See the USA/In your Chevrolet.”
If a wrestler falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it count as a fall?
A paraphrase of the old philosophy question used to stump high school students: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Peter Garrett stars in a very special ER.
Peter Garrett was the lead singer for Australian rock band Midnight Oil for 26 years; in 2002 he announced he was leaving the band. ER is a television series created by Michael Crichton that first aired in 1994. It launched George Clooney on his career as a Hollywood hunk.
Do we honestly need another remake of Little Women?
Little Women is a beloved children’s book by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) that was first published in 1868. Nine different filmed versions have been made, starting in 1917. Of these, the most famous are the 1933 version, starring Katharine Hepburn as Jo, and the 1994 version with Winona Ryder in the Hepburn role.
Ah, another HUD home for sale.
“HUD” stands for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD homes are homes that were bought with a HUD-insured mortgage, and then defaulted on. HUD then forecloses on the home, pays off the lender, and sells the home itself. They tend to be located in lower- and middle-income neighborhoods.
[Sung.] Who are you/Who, who ...
A line from the 1978 song “Who Are You” by, naturally, The Who.
I hope it isn’t Allen Funt.
Allen Funt (1914-1999) was the producer and host of the television series Candid Camera, which aired in various incarnations between 1948 and 1967. The basic premise of the show was to place unsuspecting people in embarrassing and bizarre situations and then film the wacky results. At the end of the ordeal, Funt would pop up with the cheery catchphrase “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” On a revived version of the show that aired in 1998, Funt’s son Peter acted as host.
Movietone News presents The March of Time.
Movietone News was the name of a series of weekly newsreels produced during the first half of the 20th century, to be shown in movie theaters before the main feature. Competition from television news shows and documentaries squeezed the last of the weekly newsreels out by the late 1950s. The March of Time was a newsreel produced by Time Inc. from 1935-1951 that combined news footage with “dramatic reenactments.”
Damn Martha Graham dancers.
Martha Graham (1894-1991) was a dancer and choreographer who founded her own dance company in 1926. The Martha Graham Dance Company still performs; there is also a school of dance with a troupe of student performers. She is considered one of the most influential dancers of the 20th century.
Honey, I hate to tell you this, but an android from the future is going to come and kill you so you won’t give birth.
The Terminator was a 1984 movie, directed by James Cameron, that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer robot who comes back through time to find and kill a young woman named Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton), who is about to become the mother of the human rebel leader who, decades hence, will destroy the machines that have taken over the world. The film spawned two hugely successful sequels.
A thundering tire, a flashing turn signal and a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver!”
“Hi-yo, Silver, awaaay!” is the classic catchphrase of the Lone Ranger, a fictional renegade lawman who has been featured on radio, in movies, and on television. He was portrayed most famously by actor Clayton Moore (1914-1999), who played the character in all three mediums.