Women of the Prehistoric Planet. I think my sister saw this in junior high and all the boys had to go to the gym.
A reference to the old days of sex education, when—usually in health class—the boys and girls were segregated and shown different films about how their bodies were changing.
Wendell Corey. –Man among men.
Corey (1914-1968) was an actor who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, as well as Show 815, Agent for H.A.R.M. In the 1960s, he became a Santa Monica city councilman and made an unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat.
Agar (1921-2002) was an actor who starred in other films riffed upon by Joel/Mike and the ‘bots: Show 801, Revenge of the Creature, and Show 803, The Mole People. He also appeared in some good movies, like Fort Apache, Sands of Iwo Jima, and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.
We wish you a Merry Anders.
Anders is an actress who is best known for her roles in television shows, including How to Marry a Millionaire (1957-1959) and Dragnet (1967-1970). “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is a Christmas carol from England that dates back to the sixteenth century.
Um, Kam Tong. Kam Tong races ...
Tong (1906-1969) was a Chinese-American actor who often played Asian characters in television shows of the 1950s and ‘60s, including Have Gun - Will Travel, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and I Spy. “Camptown Races” is a song written by Stephen Foster and published in 1850. The official title of the song was “Gwine to Run All Night.”
You are here.
A classic poster found on the walls of science geeks everywhere for a while showed a picture of the Milky Way galaxy with an arrow pointing to a spot on one of the outer spiral arms, with a label saying "YOU ARE HERE."
What’s that, Servo? –I think it’s the creamy nougat center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Milky Way is a brand of candy bar that consists of a caramel-topped nougat coated with milk chocolate. It was created in 1923 by Frank Mars in Minnesota and is produced by Mars Incorporated.
Hey, look. It’s a Lady Remington. –Looks like tinfoil. –It’s a steam iron. –It’s a biscuit warmer. –It’s a chrome watermelon. –It’s a metal football. –It’s one of Gallagher’s hats. –It’s any piece of alternate reality we choose it to be. –That’s no alternate piece of reality. That’s a battlestation.
Lady Remington is an electric razor made by the Remington personal care company since the 1960s. Gallagher (full name Leo Anthony Gallagher) is a “prop” comic best known for smashing watermelons onstage with a sledgehammer. “That’s no moon. That’s a battlestation” is a line from the 1977 film Star Wars.
Looks like a great big Erector set.
Erector Set is a toy construction set first produced by AC Gilbert in 1911. It contains small metal beams, nuts, bolts, screws, and mechanical parts such as gears.
That’s the biggest Pop-O-Matic bubble I think I’ve ever seen. –Nah, I think it looks like a big Joe Namath popcorn popper. –That’s the biggest guitar I’ve ever seen. Built into the wall back there.
Pop-O-Matic is a self-contained method for rolling the dice in several board games, including Trouble, Kimble, and Yipes. It features a clear plastic dome at the center of the board over a black metal (or plastic) panel that indents and springs back when the dome is depressed. This causes the die (or dice) to tumble inside. Joe Namath was a football quarterback who played for the New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams in the 1960s and ‘70s. In 1971, Namath appeared in television ads for the Hamilton Beach Butter-Up Corn Popper, which allegedly buttered the popcorn as it popped.
You’re new here, aren’t you, Elvis?
Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, was one of the most popular musicians in the world from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42.
[Imitating Elvis.] Thank you, Colonel.
“Colonel” Tom Parker (1909-1997) was Elvis Presley’s long-time manager. A Dutch citizen by birth (born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk), he was given an honorary rank in the Louisiana State Militia in 1948 for helping with Governor Jimmie Davis’s election campaign.
It’s kooky, Colonel.
See previous note.
And all from the horoscope charts he got from Nancy Reagan.
Nancy Reagan was the wife of President Ronald Reagan and First Lady from 1981 to 1989. Following an assassination attempt on Reagan, the First Lady became extremely protective of her husband and turned to an astrologer, Joan Quigley. Quigley gave Nancy advice on what days were “good,” “bad,” and “neutral” when it came to the president’s safety and potential success. The First Lady, in turn, provided color-coded schedules for the president’s staff. The astrologer’s influence on the president’s schedule became a subject of controversy after it was revealed in 1988.
Let’s lock them all in relocation camps.
Relocation camps (or “concentration camps”) were first used by the Russians in the 1700s to detain Polish rebels. In the 1830s, the United States employed them against the Cherokee and other Native Americans; again during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902);and again beginning in 1942 when 120,000 Japanese-Americans, 11,000 German-Americans, and 2,000 Italian-Americans were rounded up for most of World War II. After the Nazis created extermination camps (as opposed to the usual detention or labor varieties), which killed three million people during World War II, they fell out of favor.
Hey, it’s Pink Lady. –And Jeff.
Pink Lady and Jeff was a notoriously terrible 1980 television series, widely considered one of the worst TV shows of all time. It starred comedian Jeff Altman and Japanese pop musical duo Keiko Masuda and Mitsuyo Nemoto, a.k.a. Pink Lady. Keiko and Mitsuyo spoke barely any English, and the humor frequently slid over the edge into racism, with lines like “You just like me for my sexy round eyes.”
And you sound like Archie Bunker.
Archie Bunker was a character on the popular CBS sitcom All in the Family (1971-1979) and its less-popular continuation Archie Bunker’s Place (1979-1983). Bunker was a stubborn, irascible bigot whose comeuppance near the end of each episode usually garnered the biggest laughs. He was played by Carroll O’Connor, who won four Emmys for his portrayal.
Is that a Ray Stevens song?
Ray Stevens is a singer-songwriter best known for his novelty songs. His hits include “Ahab the Arab” (1962), “Everything Is Beautiful” (1970), and “The Streak” (1974).
And you’re no Jack Kennedy, senator.
A paraphrase of a famous line uttered by Senator Lloyd Bentsen during the 1988 vice presidential debate with Senator Dan Quayle. After Quayle said he had as much experience as John F. Kennedy when he was elected president, Bentsen retorted, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Quayle responded by saying, “That was really uncalled for, Senator,” when he probably could have scored more points by saying, “You’re right. I’m not a drug-addled philanderer with ties to the mafia.” Nevertheless, the damage was done, and the phrase has since been applied to other politicians who have seemed to be taking themselves a bit too seriously.
Disinflating Annette’s hair on my mark.
Annette Funicello is a singer and actress who got her start on the TV series The Mickey Mouse Club (the 1955-1959 edition) and went on to star in a series of beach films with Frankie Avalon.
Watts is a city district in Los Angeles well known for racial strife. In 1965, riots gripped the area after the arrest of two young African-Americans (outside Watts, actually) who had been pulled over under suspicion of DUI. In the 1970s and ‘80s, violence escalated until a four-year peace process with gang leaders led to an agreement in 1992. By the beginning of the twenty-first century, many blacks had left the district, largely displaced by Latinos, who made up 60 percent of the population.
Pigs! In! Space!
“Pigs in Space” was a beloved recurring sketch on The Muppet Show, a puppet variety show that aired from 1976-1981. Each skit began with a portentous announcer intoning the above words.
Think of us as Klingons, without the cling.
Klingons are the most famous adversaries of the United Federation of Planets, as depicted in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), the animated series (1973-1974), and many of the feature films. In Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)—set eighty years after the original series—the Klingons were allies of the Federation (though that peace fell apart briefly in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [1993-1999]). In the original series, the warriors of the Klingon Empire were depicted as heavily tanned humans with sinister facial hair. Their look was updated for 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture to include bumpy foreheads. That film also featured the first taste of the Klingon language, with words crafted by James Doohan, who played Scotty. Those few words were later expanded by linguist Marc Okrand for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984). Today there are Klingon language camps, Klingon translations of Shakespeare, Klingon weddings, Klingon funerals, and so on.
We’re going to crash into a Universal picture!
Universal Studios was founded in 1912 by Carl Laemmle and is one of the oldest studios still in operation. For most of their recent history, their studio card (the animation that appears at the beginning of their films) has been an animated version of Earth rotating in a field of stars.
Yellow moons. Pink hearts. All that stuff.
Lucky Charms is an oat cereal with marshmallows produced by General Mills beginning in 1964. The initial marshmallow shapes were of pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars, and green clovers. Blue diamonds were added in 1975, purple horseshoes in 1984, red balloons in 1989, rainbows in 1992, pots of gold in 1994, leprechaun hats in 1996, shooting stars in 1998, and hourglasses in 2008. These shapes, more often than not, replaced the original marshmallows. Only pink hearts have remained in the lineup since the beginning.
It says, “Do not tear, spindle, or mutilate.”
The phrase “Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate” (and many variations thereof) first appeared on computer punch cards in the 1940s. What’s a computer punch card? Well, in the olden days, data was given to room-sized computers by feeding them cards with holes punched in various locations on the heavy paper. Folding or otherwise mangling the card made it difficult for the computer to read it. The phrase became so ingrained in the culture that a 1971 TV movie called Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate was produced, starring Helen Hayes and Myrna Loy, about a computer dating service. Yes, 1971. Spindle, by the way, means to poke holes (obviously not referring to the punched holes already on the card).
Signed by Zippy the Chimp.
Zippy the Chimp was a frequent guest on variety TV shows of the 1950s and ‘60s. He first appeared on The Howdy Doody Show and soon followed that up with comedic shots on other programs, including CBS’s The Ed Sullivan Show. He kept appearing on shows for decades with regular stints on Captain Kangaroo and Late Night with David Letterman. As far as I can tell, he’s still alive.
And beam up more Dep.
Dep is a brand of hair gel first made in 1955 by DEP Corporation. In the 1970s, they launched a line of children’s toiletries, Lilt home perms, and Topol toothpaste.
I got this Snoopy ruler for free. What do you think, Tom? Somebody? Anybody?
Snoopy is the beagle in the Charles Schulz comic strip “Peanuts.” He first appeared in 1950 in the third strip ever published and was named after a term of endearment in Norway (“snuppa”). The imaginative yet non-speaking animal has appeared in thousands of strips, animated television programs, films, and commercials. The lunar module of the Apollo 10 mission in 1969 was nicknamed “Snoopy” in his honor (the command module was dubbed “Charlie Brown”).
Even our name says “Merry Christmas.”
In a 1978 holiday season television commercial for Norelco electric razors, the line “Even our name says ‘Merry Christmas’” was used and the name intentionally misspelled on screen as “Noëlco.”
Gilligan! –Skipper! –Gilligan! –Skipper! –Mary Ann! –Ginger! –Thurston! –Lovey! –Professor. –Japanese guy.
Gilligan’s Island was a CBS sitcom that aired from 1964 to 1967 about a group of people stranded on an island after their boat wrecked during a storm. The premise was stretched beyond credulity in a 1974-1977 Filmation animated series, three reunion films (including the improbable The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island), and the 1982 animated series Gilligan’s Planet, set in space. Gilligan, played by Bob Denver, was the S.S. Minnow’s first mate. Skipper (real name: Jonas Grumby), played by Alan Hale Jr., was the captain, natch. Mary Ann Summers, played by Dawn Wells, was a country girl who always managed to scrounge together the ingredients for pies. Ginger Grant, played by Tina Louise in the show and other actresses in the subsequent series and films, was a movie star who, for some reason, packed hundreds of outfits for her three-hour boat trip. Thurston Howell III, played by Jim Backus, was the millionaire who brought loads of cash along and occasionally tried to buy his way out of sticky situations, though no one had any use for the money on the island. Eunice “Lovey” Wentworth Howell, played by Natalie Schafer, was the millionaire’s flighty wife, who had it stipulated in her contract that she not be filmed in close-ups that might reveal her age (she was sixty-three when the series began). Roy Hinkley, played by Russell Johnson, was a high school science teacher nicknamed the “Professor” for no apparent reason because, even though he was a genius at making cars and convoluted contraptions with coconuts and bamboo, he couldn’t fix a three-foot hole in a boat.
It’s Pez. Make you feel better.
Pez is a hard candy that comes in a variety of plastic dispensers, many with cartoon characters on them. It is manufactured by Pez Candy Inc. The candy itself was created in Austria in 1927; the dispensers were first made in 1945; heads were first placed on those dispensers in 1955, with Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse being among the first designs.
And here. It’s my motorman’s helper. –Finish it!
Motorman’s helper is the name given to a receptacle used by long-distance drivers to, um, relieve themselves in case an actual rest stop can’t be found.
Weren’t you in “Bali Ha’i” or Hawaiian Eye?
“Bali Ha’i” is a song from the 1949 musical South Pacific by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. Hawaiian Eye (1959-1963) was an ABC television series about a private investigator in Hawaii. It starred Anthony Eisley and Robert Conrad.
We can play boogly-oogley for years. And the banana will stick.
A reference to an extremely funny bit about Thai sex workers in Spalding Gray's classic monologue Swimming to Cambodia, about his adventures in Thailand while playing a bit part in The Killing Fields. (Thanks to Brad Watson for this reference.)
That was no boating accident.
A paraphrased line from the 1975 film Jaws, spoken by Richard Dreyfuss’ character, Dr. Matt Hooper: “This was no boat accident!”
It’s the Green Hornet. –Kato?
The Green Hornet was a short-lived TV series that aired from 1966-1967. It starred Van Williams as newspaper publisher/superhero Britt Reid and a then-largely-unknown Bruce Lee as his valet, Kato.
If only (grunt) I could get (grunt) to my utility belt!
A reference to the Batman television series of the 1960s, which would often find the Caped Crusader (played by Adam West) and the Boy Wonder, Robin (played by Burt Ward), bound in some precarious position by a particularly pernicious profligate, thereby ending that particular program on a cliffhanger. The next episode would begin with Batman finally reaching his gadget-laden utility belt and freeing the Dynamic Duo.
I’ll take that, Mr. Bond.
“Mr. Bond” refers to fictional British secret agent James Bond, as featured in Ian Fleming’s novels and many, many films. The tone of voice implies that some nefarious archvillain is speaking.
Take that, Mr. Moto! Nuts to you, Confucius.Bring ... the car ... around ... Kato.
Mr. Moto is the alias of a fictional Japanese (or Interpol) agent created by American author John Marquand in a series of six novels published in the mid-twentieth century. He also featured in eight films starring Peter Lorre in the 1930s and a 1951 radio series starring James Monk. It’s also possible that they’re referencing professional wrestler Mr. Moto (real name: Tor Kamata), who was well-known in the 1970s and ‘80s in the American Wrestling Association and the World Wide Wrestling Federation. He retired in 1987 and died in 2007. Confucius (551-479 BCE) was a Chinese philosopher noted for promoting family, justice, morality, and so on. One of his primary teachings was, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself” (known in the West as the Golden Rule). He also invented adding lottery numbers inside tiny folded pastries (no, not really).
See previous note on The Green Hornet.
Tiny bubbles ... in ... my larynx!
“Tiny Bubbles” was a pop song written and performed by Hawaiian musician Don Ho. It was released in 1967 and is probably his most famous song.
Mom ... always did ... like you best.
A reference to a running joke performed by comedians/folk singers Tommy and Dick Smothers (The Smothers Brothers) in their live acts and on their late 1960s CBS variety show.
Meanwhile, at the ocarina.
The phrase, “Meanwhile, back at _____,” originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early twentieth century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators for films and radio and television shows. Most recently, it was used frequently in the various Superfriends animated series of the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
Oh, Picture Picture.
A reference to a feature on the long-running preschoolers’ show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. At least once per episode, Fred Rogers would go to a painting on the wall near the kitchen. The painting was, in reality, a rear-projection screen. For the first few years, Rogers would simply speak to Picture Picture and it would display still photos or films and even communicate with the host. After 1970, Picture Picture no longer operated magically; Rogers would simply slide a film reel into a slot by the picture frame and operate it by wired remote to show orchestra performances, explain how crayons and other things were made, and so on.
He asked me! He asked me!
A 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 nose. Once the doctor points out that the nose is actually false, he asks Luxury-Yacht if he’d like to go on a camping holiday with him, and Luxury-Yacht joyously exclaims, “He asked me! He asked me!”
Sounds kinda like 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 you can’t remove the land from the man. The chalice from the palace is the brew that is true. –The flagon with the dragon has the pellet that is poison.
A paraphrase of a famous wordplay from the 1956 comedy-musical The Court Jester (starring Danny Kaye). The actual line is, “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true!” and later, “The pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true.”
I didn’t say, “Simon says.”
Simon Says is an old kids’ game in which the “Simon” tells the other children to do things—hop on one foot, touch their nose—prefacing each command with the words “Simon says.” If the Simon omits those words when giving an order, anyone who performs the requested action is “out.” The earliest known version dates back to the Roman Empire and was called “Cicero dicit fac hoc,” meaning, “Cicero says do this.” The name “Simon” likely entered into it after some court intrigue in the 1260s, when King Henry III of England was captured by the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort, who for a year was the de facto ruler of England; in other words, for a time everyone in England had to do what Simon said.
“Set up a beamer here.” –BMW?
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (in English “Bavarian Motor Works”) is a German car company established in 1916 by Franz Josef Popp. In the 1980s, the brand became synonymous with the yuppie crowd, and their nickname for the car, “Beamer,” persists to this day.
Are you speaking into a Waterpik?
Waterpik is a brand of “oral irrigator,” which uses pulsating water streams to flush food and other debris out from between teeth and in the gums.
Stop doing your Cagney impression. It’s not that great.
James Cagney (1899-1986) was an actor famous for his roles as tough guys or gangsters in dozens of films.
Just tell me where she went, Hemingway. C’mon.
Ernest “Papa” Hemingway (1899-1961) was a man’s man’s author who wrote intensely muscular stories and novels about war, bullfighting, fishing, and other testosterone-laden activities. In 1961, depressed and anxious after a series of electroshock treatments, he killed himself with a shotgun at his Idaho house.
I’ll stay here and take more lithium.
Lithium is a drug used to treat manic-depressive disorder.
Spin and Marty, to the rescue!
The Adventures of Spin and Marty is the name of a series of shorts that aired on The Mickey Mouse Club television show in 1955. They starred David Stollery and Tim Considine as two kids (one rich but lonely, the other poor but popular) who become friends at a ranch-style summer camp. Two sequel series followed shortly thereafter, and a reboot film was made in 2000.
Oh, Ward. The Beaver turned out okay.
Ward Cleaver (played by Hugh Beaumont) and the Beaver (real name: Theodore Cleaver, played by Jerry Mathers) were characters in the TV series Leave It to Beaver, which ran from 1957 to 1963.
What is she, Anne of Green Gables all of a sudden? Hey!
Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It’s about an orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to a family that wanted a boy, her adventures learning and growing and then helping her adoptive mother, going to college, etc. The girl’s name is Anne Shirley, and she appears in eight different novels by Montgomery and several feature films and television movie adaptations. In fact, Dawn Evelyeen Paris, who played Anne Shirley in a 1934 adaptation, took the character’s name as her own for the rest of her career.
Wait a minute, wait a minute. You’re describing the plot of Kung Fu.
Kung Fu was a television series that ran from 1972 to 1975. It starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who roams the American West.
Fortunately, I have my Johnny Rocket crossbow.
It’s possible that they conflated the restaurant chain, Johnny Rockets, with the toy maker, Johnny Lightning.
She’ll be perfect for my experiments. –And Quincy will be so proud of me.
Quincy, M.E. was a TV series starring Jack Klugman as Dr. R. Quincy (his first name is never given), a coroner who investigates suspicious deaths. It ran from 1976-1983.
Dibs! Dibs! Let me drink champagne out of it just to be sure.
Dibs is generally a childhood method of laying claim to a toy or a position by yelling out “Dibs!” In most English-speaking nations, this is referred to as “bags” and dates back to the mid-1800s. As for the origin of the word “dibs,” theories vary. Two leading thoughts: 1) an abbreviation of the Yiddish phrase “fin dibsy,” meaning “lay claim,” and 2) that “dibs” derives from the word “divvy,” meaning to divide up.
Hmmm. Coconut cream pie, a car made out of bamboo, and a sailor’s hat. What’s it all mean?
See above note on Gilligan’s Island, the baking skills of Mary Ann, and the technical prowess of the Professor.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Ha! Psych!
“Psych” (sometimes spelled “syke” or “psyche”) is another childhood exclamation, usually coming at the end of a statement and intending to render the whole thing as a joke. It’s derived from the phrase “psyched out,” meaning to have fooled someone. An example: “Oh, man! I love watching Women of the Prehistoric Planet over and over to catch all of the little references. Psych!” See how that works?
You ever see the movie Alive, doughnut boy?
Alive is a 1993 film in which a Uruguayan rugby team’s plane crashes in the mountains and the survivors are forced to eat the bodies of their dead teammates.
Who are you, Donald O’Connor?
Donald O’Connor (1925-2003) got his start in the 1930s as a child actor. He appeared in more than a hundred movies and TV shows over the course of his career, including the Francis series of films about a talking mule.
Morty Gunty, appearing this week at the Blaine Community Theater in Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Morty Gunty (1929-1984) was a comedian who appeared on many television shows in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and even had roles in several feature films, including Broadway Danny Rose.
He’s a real child of hell.
“Real Child of Hell” is a 1982 song by the punk band X, off their album Under the Big Black Sun.
Ah, Wilma. You’re up.
Wilma Flintstone (voiced by Jean Vander Pyl until 1999) is the matriarch of the Flintstones household on the TV show of the same name (1960-1966) and its various spinoffs, sequels, adaptations, etc.
“I am Tang.” –I’m not just for breakfast anymore. –That’s my favorite drink! –It’s short for Astrolipithecus africanus [sic]. –Tang is my favorite drink.
Tang is an orange-flavored, powdered drink mix that became famous when NASA used it on John Glenn’s 1962 Mercury flight. It was invented by William Mitchell, who also invented Pop Rocks, and is manufactured by Kraft. The phrase “It’s not just for breakfast anymore” is not a slogan for Tang but for the Florida Orange Juice Growers Association. Australopithecus africanus is an early ancestor of modern humans that lived 2-3 million years ago in Africa. A fossil of this species discovered in 1924 was named the “Taung Child” after the South African town nearby.
Fresh out, but I’ve got catawba juice.
Catawba is a type of red grape grown on the East Coast of the United States and used to make grape juice, jellies, and wine.
It’s Clarence Birdseye.
Birds Eye is a company that sells frozen vegetables, meats, and more. It was founded in 1922 by Clarence Birdseye (1886-1956), who developed a process to quick freeze foods while preserving their quality, based upon his observations of the Arctic cold.
Meanwhile, back at the dry ice pool.
See above note.
If the Wallendas can do it, we can do it.
The Flying Wallendas is the name of a group of high wire circus performers that got their start in Germany when Karl Wallenda gathered his brother and two friends in 1922 to tour as a stunt troupe. In 1928, they first performed without a net because they lost it. That stuck as a selling point; however, their daring has led to several deaths: in 1962, two died and one was paralyzed when the pyramid collapsed. Another man was killed the following year, a fourth in 1972, and founder Karl Wallenda died in 1978 when he fell from a high wire stretched between two buildings. To this day, there are several branches of the Wallendas still touring.
Oh, shut up. What are you, Confucius? Just cross the dry ice and shut up!
See above note.
Don’t fall. Don’t fall. –Jinx. –Noonan! –Jinx. –Noonan! –Don’t fall. –Jinx. –Noonan! –Jinx. –Miss. –Oooooh. –Shame. What a pity. –Hot foot. –It’s a gainer. –Well, I guess he’s not in the club. –Never did like him anyway.
“Jinx” is a manner of cursing someone to have bad luck. It may date back to the 1860s, when a popular song titled “Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines” regaled audiences with tales of the captain’s misfortunes. In the 1980 film Caddyshack, there is a scene during which Danny Noonan (Michael O’Keefe) is attempting to sink a putt. His fellow caddies are catcalling and attempting to distract him from the sidelines, often yelling out his last name, “Noonan!”
Hey, I got Angelo to think of.
The Chief is played by Stuart Margolin, who, from 1974 to 1980, played Evelyn “Angel” Martin on the NBC series The Rockford Files.
That makes me hungry. –Is he primordial soup yet?
“Primordial soup” is the colloquial name for the theory that early oceans on Earth (and by early, I mean four billion years ago) contained vast amounts of simple chemicals and compounds. When electrified by lightning or simply excited by sunlight, these chemicals grouped and formed amino acids, the simplest building blocks of life.
Wow. Looks like they turned that ship into a restaurant. I love these fern bars. Looks like an interstellar Denny’s. It’s great.
Denny’s is a budget chain of restaurants found across the length and breadth of this fair land. It was first founded in 1953 by Richard Jezak and Harold Butler as Denny’s Doughnuts in Lakewood, CA.
It says “Thou shalt not ki-” –That was in the other show.
A reference to Show 113, The Black Scorpion, and a bit with some rocks. Despite the number on this episode being only 104, it was actually the last produced and aired episode of the season.
It’s a Close ‘N Play.
Kenner’s Close ‘N Play Phonograph was a cheap music player produced for children in the 1970s. (A phonograph was an audio media player that used a needle riding in the miniscule groove of a vinyl disc to produce music. This was before CDs. Yes, children, there was a time before CDs.)
It says, “Ahab was obsessed with the great white one.”
A reference to Moby-Dick, that famed 1851 novel by Herman Melville about a crazed sea captain (Ahab) and his relentless hunt for the large white whale that maimed him.
It’s a well! There’s a little girl down there!
Jessica McClure, or “Baby Jessica,” as she was dubbed by the media, was eighteen months old when she fell into a well near her home in Midland, Texas, on October 14, 1987. Rescuers worked frantically for three days before they were able to pull her out, a story that was covered relentlessly around the world. I recall my brother, standing on his tiptoes and trying to peer into the well, obviously not grasping the concept of two-dimensional television.
Yeah, but it’s still on 8-track.
Officially known as Stereo 8, 8-track tapes were cassettes of magnetic tape in an infinite loop. They were developed in the early 1960s by Bill Lear (of Lear Jet fame) and released in 1964. They caught on because, until then, the only means of owning music were vinyl records or cumbersome reel-to-reels, and neither of those were terribly portable. They were popular until the mid-1970s, when standard compact cassettes replaced them as the desired form of totable audio entertainment. Complaints included low audio quality, the inability to rewind, the inability to choose a specific song to go to, songs switching in the middle of play to a different track ... Actually, it’s a wonder they were ever popular.
Nice speech, Jim.
Quite likely a reference to Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the Federation starship Enterprise, known from the NBC television series Star Trek (1966-1969), the animated series (1973-1974), and seven feature films. He was played by William Shatner.
The hopping spider of Rylos IV.
Rylos was the name of the “good guy” homeworld in the 1984 film The Last Starfighter, about a trailer park teen (Lance Guest) who beats an arcade game, gets whisked into space by Robert “Music Man” Preston, and is recruited to defend the Star League against Xur and the Ko-Dan Armada. No “hopping spider” appeared in the film.
Eddie Money, “Two Tickets to Paradise.” That’s about it. The DeFranco Family. I don’t think you’d like it.
Eddie Money is a rock singer and musician who had several hits in the 1970s and ‘80s, including “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” The DeFranco Family featuring Tony DeFranco was a ‘70s pop group featuring several teen heartthrobs that had a few hits, including “Heartbeat (It’s a Love Beat).”
Wrecked ‘em? Damn near killed them.
The repurposed punch line of an old joke about a student who uses an inappropriate word in class.
And so Johnny Longtorso and his industrial band of spacefaring pals stepped out into the cold air of Central Park.
Central Park, a park on the island of Manhattan in New York City, is one of the greatest public spaces in the country. The 770-acre park opened in 1873, and is currently visited by thirty-five million people every year, not including extraterrestrial tourists.
Oh, you mean Crash Orange, Goofy Grape, Lefty Lemon, that whole gang?
Funny Face Drink Mix was a powdered drink flavoring produced by Pillsbury and sold in the 1960s and ‘70s. Goofy Grape and Lefty Lemon were two of the flavors. Injun Orange (later Jolly Olly Orange) was the Funny Face orange flavor, not “Crash Orange.” It’s possible Joel meant to reference the soda Orange Crush.
I’m not just for breakfast anymore.
See above note.
Can I call you “Ovaltine?” –I’ll drink to that.
Ovaltine is a fortified malt and chocolate beverage invented in Switzerland in 1904 as a sports recovery drink for skiers. In the U.S. it is marketed primarily to children.
[Sung.] The weather started getting rough. The Tang and she were tossed.
A paraphrased line from the theme song to the aforementioned Gilligan’s Island.
[Imitating Nixon.] Dean, we’ll get Liddy and the Plumbers to do all the dirty work.
President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) is famous for having recorded his Oval Office conversations on reel-to-reel tape between 1971 and 1973 and then refusing to release them once the Watergate investigation went into full swing. Watergate refers to the office complex that featured the Democratic National Committee as one of its tenants; in 1972, “fix it” operatives of the president, sometimes referred to as the “White House Plumbers,” broke into the DNC offices to steal communications and documents related to the 1972 presidential campaign. During the investigation, it was revealed that the “Plumbers” were paid by the Committee to Re-Elect the President (usually abbreviated as CRP, but more often derisively as CREEP). G. Gordon Liddy was a member of this group (and the “Plumbers”), and he organized the break-in. Liddy was convicted and spent fifty-two months in prison. He became a right-wing radio talk show host in the 1990s. White House counsel John Dean pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and organizing the cover-up. He spent four months in prison; the light sentence was in exchange for his help testifying against others in the conspiracy.
Hey, Crow, sounds like one of the more boring episodes of Prairie Home Companion, don’t you think? –Yeah, let’s get it on tape.
A Prairie Home Companion is a long-running live comedic and musical variety program heard Saturday nights on National Public Radio. It started in 1974 (named after an earlier program with no direct relation) and is hosted by Garrison Keillor, whose dulcet tones introduce musical acts, narrate humorous productions, and provide news from the fictional Minnesota town Lake Wobegon.
Did you just get back from the dentist or something? –Did you just get a shot of novocaine? –JD.
Jack Daniel’s (sometimes abbreviated as just “Jack” or “JD”) is a brand of Tennessee whiskey first produced by Jack Daniel in 1875.
Oh, Captain Crunch comfort ring. Help me out of this awful jam now. –Shazam!
Cap’n Crunch is a line of corn and oat cereal first manufactured in 1963. “Shazam!” is the magic word that young Billy Batson says in order to call down a bolt of lightning, which transforms him into the DC Comics hero Captain Marvel. The character first appeared in 1939 in Fawcett Comics (which was later bought by DC). From 1974 to 1977, CBS aired Shazam!, a Saturday morning half-hour live-action children’s program.
Go, Annette, go!
See above note.
The space samba.
Samba is a style of Brazilian dance and music, closely associated with Carnival.
I can only read Braille.
Braille is a system of raised dots standing for letters that allows blind people to read; it was invented in 1821 by Louis Braille, a blind French musician and teacher.
Thank you, Betty, Veronica, Jughead.
Betty Cooper, Veronica Lodge, and Forsythe Pendleton “Jughead” Jones III are three characters in the long-running Archie Comics series first published in 1939. Betty and Veronica are the two women Archie Andrews finds himself torn between. Jughead is Archie’s best friend, dimwitted and easily spotted because of his crown-like hat.
It’s Peter Pan and Wendy.
Peter Pan is a flying, nigh-immortal character created by Scottish writer J. M. Barrie. Peter first appeared in the 1902 novel The Little White Bird and two years later in a highly successful stage production. Numerous other stage and screen productions followed, including Mary Martin’s famous Broadway portrayal (filmed for television) and Walt Disney’s 1953 animated version. Wendy Darling is a young girl taken by Peter to the magical Neverland in the 1904 play and the 1911 novelization, Peter and Wendy. Wendy is usually the protagonist in adaptations of the character in other media.
Get me, I'm a wood nymph.
A paraphrasing of a line from the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life, spoken by Sheldon Leonard as Nick the bartender: “Get me! I'm givin' out wings!”
My name isn’t Tang. It’s Puck. Oh, I meant to do my work today, but the wildflowers beckoned and what could I do but answer their call? Sweetly called by the string lute and I came. –Hmm? –That was beautiful.
A puck is a mischievous nature sprite popular in English mythologies but made singular in William Shakespeare’s 1590-ish play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Puck (a.k.a. Robin Goodfellow) was also a clever sprite who guided much of the action in the play. The lines Tom says do not appear in the comedy but seem fanciful enough to have been spoken by the character.
They’re Little Debbie cakes. I gathered them from the bear cave.
Little Debbie is a brand of snack cakes that includes such products as oatmeal creme pies, cream-filled cupcakes, brownies, and many, many more. Little Debbie’s parent company is McKee Foods, which began the snack food line in the 1960s and decided to name it after the founders’ then-four-year-old granddaughter.
They’re fit for a king. Here King, here King. Ba-boom!
An old joke, most often attributed to Henny Youngman, the standup most famous for the line, “Take my wife ... please!” Originally, the joke was in reference to his wife’s cooking. King, in this case, being the name of his dog.
[Imitating Mata Hairi.] Can I have another banana, Lancelot?
Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp was a Saturday morning, live-action program that aired on ABC from 1970 to 1972. It featured chimpanzees with dubbed voices in a Get Smart-esque spy comedy. Lancelot Link (played by Tonga and voiced by Dayton Allen) was portrayed with a variation on Humphrey Bogart’s delivery. Link’s partner, Mata Hairi (played by Debbie and voiced by Joan Gerber), sounded like this. Kinda Fran Drescher-ish.
[Imitating Ed Simian.] Nice babe you got there, Tang.
On the aforementioned Lancelot Link, a recurring segment was hosted by a chimpanzee Ed Sullivan-sound-a-like named Ed Simian (also voiced by Dayton Allen). He introduced an all-chimp band named The Evolution Revolution.
Now he’s going to play some of the world’s most loved melodies, à la Zamfir.
Gheorghe Zamfir is a Romanian musician and player of the pan flute. He first started playing professionally in the early 1960s, but he became part of pop culture when commercials for his albums began playing seemingly nonstop in the 1980s.
[Imitating Lancelot Link.] Let me amuse and cajole your species, Mata.
See previous note.
It’s Peter and the Wolf ... and the Monkey and Ted and Alice.
Peter and the Wolf is a 1936 Russian children’s story and musical piece written by Sergei Prokofiev. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is a 1969 film starring Natalie Wood and Robert Culp as a sophisticated couple who have their lives changed by a therapy group.
Get me, I’m the master of the pan flute.
See previous note on Zamfir; also see above note on It's a Wonderful Life.
Yeah, but I also like other beverages. Like Hi-C.
Hi-C is a fruit-flavored drink first made by Niles Foster in 1946. The first flavor was orange, and dozens more have followed over the years. It is currently produced by Minute Maid, which is a division of Coca-Cola.
Tang’s gonna take a powder. Wait. Tang is a powder.
See above note.
Tang will settle to bottom. Must stir.
See above note.
See no evil. Well, maybe just a little. Yeah.
The phrase “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” derives from a sculpture in a seventeenth-century shrine in Nikko, Japan that shows three monkeys miming the appropriate action for preventing each (hands over eyes, hands over ears, hands over mouth). The philosophy depicted derives from eighth-century Tendai-Buddhist teachings. It is possible that monkeys were used in the sculpture as a play on words: in Japanese, “zaru” is a negative verb conjugation and “saru” means “monkey.”
This week in the Enquirer, Tang’s recipe for love, lots of good food, and his water baby.
The National Enquirer is a supermarket tabloid founded in 1926 and specializing in entertainment news and gossip. Unlike many of its tabloid brethren, journalistic accuracy at the Enquirer is generally considered to be pretty high.
Ah, Lolita ...
Lolita is a 1955 novel by Vladimir Nabokov. The novel is narrated by Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged man with a fetish for young girls. In Lolita, he finally finds an accessible “nymphet,” in a barely pubescent girl who is already sexually experienced, and also fairly awful. Humbert winds up in prison for killing the man who takes Lolita away from him and then abandons her.
It’s the Monkees! Get out of there! Scamper. Cheese it. –[Sung.] They’re too busy spearing, to put anybody down.
A paraphrased line from the theme to The Monkees TV show, which aired from 1966-1968. The original line is, “But we’re too busy singing, to put anybody down.” The Monkees were a musical group, known as the “Pre-Fab Four,” that had several hits, including “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer.”
Tang Kwon Do.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art; its name translates loosely to “the art of foot and fist.” It grew out of several very old Korean fighting techniques in the mid-twentieth century.
Hey, everybody. I’m Bruce Lee!
Bruce Lee (1940-1973) is considered by many the greatest martial arts star ever immortalized in film, for his performances in such films as Enter the Dragon and The Game of Death, as well as the role of Kato in The Green Hornet TV series (see above note).
Looks like the family from It’s About Time.
It’s About Time was a short-lived 1966 CBS sitcom. It was about two astronauts who were accidentally thrown back in time to prehistoric days where they lived with a cave family, fought dinosaurs, and so on. Later in the season, the creators retooled the show, bringing the astronauts and the cave family to the modern era.
He’s fighting a bunch of Sonny Bono lookalikes.
Salvatore Phillip “Sonny” Bono (1935-1998) was a musician best known for being married to Cher and releasing the hit “I Got You Babe”; a television co-host, also with Cher, of The Sonny and Cher Show from 1971 to 1974 and again (after their divorce) from 1976 to 1977; a politician, mayor of Palm Springs, California, from 1988 to 1992 and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1998. In 1998, Bono was killed after hitting a tree while skiing.
No, you’re thinking of the Big Bad Wolf.
The folkloric “Big Bad Wolf” is an antagonist that has appeared in many stories over the centuries, from Aesop’s “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” to Grimm’s “Little Red Riding Hood” to the English fairy tale “Three Little Pigs.”
Hey, it’s Cliff Robertson. “Hi! I’m a mountain!” Stupid.
Cliff Robertson (1923-2011) was an actor best known for playing John F. Kennedy (at Kennedy’s request) in the 1963 film adaptation of PT-109 and for his 1968 Oscar-winning turn as Charly, the mentally challenged guinea pig, in Charly, a film adaptation of the book Flowers for Algernon.
What are the chances of those idols falling over? –Billy Idol?
Billy Idol is a rock musician who hit it big in the 1980s with hits like “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell.”
[Imitating.] Thwow dem to the gwound, pwanet. Most woughwy. Thank you.
An imitation of Michael Palin’s depiction of Pontius Pilate in the controversial 1979 Monty Python film Life of Brian. This is a paraphrasing of a line from the film.
Oh, I hit my butt and it’s all hot and hurts and stuff. Ow.
A reference to a commercial for the antiseptic/anesthetic first aid spray Bactine.
Good thing I’ve got my Farah action slacks on.
Farah is a brand of wrinkle-free cotton pants first manufactured in 1920 Texas.
Uh-oh. –Jeez, talk about deus ex machina.
“Deus ex machina” is Latin for “god out of the machine.” It is a (usually frowned upon) literary device wherein a problem is solved quite suddenly with the introduction of a new element, seemingly out of nowhere. An example of this played for laughs can be found in the aforementioned Life of Brian: Brian falls to his certain death but is instead caught by a passing spaceship.
Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established in 1872.
Boy, they’re really rockin’ that place. –This is what happens after you eat a Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza was a hugely successful touring rock festival during the 1990s, with such bands as Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and other alt.-rock stalwarts. The name for the festival comes from a nineteenth-century phrase meaning “an unusual thing,” later taken to mean “a giant lollipop.” According to festival organizer Perry Farrell, he decided on the name after he heard it in a Three Stooges short. (The chronology is a bit confused here: This episode aired in 1990 but the Lollapalooza tour didn’t begin until 1991. Perhaps they had heard news of the upcoming tour.)
Looks like the land of Dairy Queen.
A reference to an old advertising jingle for the Dairy Queen chain of restaurants: “In the land of Dairy Queen, we treat you right!” Commercials for the chain in the 1970s featured closeups of sundae toppings as though they were mountains.
Look out! The Styrofoam’s on fire!
Styrofoam is a brand of plastic foam frequently used as a packing material and first made in 1941; it is manufactured by Dow Chemical.
This is great. I feel like E.T.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 film about an adorable alien who gets stranded on Earth, and a group of kids’ efforts to get him back home.
An imitation of Johnny Weissmuller (1904-1984), who played Tarzan the Ape Man in a series of twelve films between 1932 and 1948. The yell is actually trademarked by Edgar Rice Burroughs’s estate.
Hi, Elvis. –[Imitating.] I’d like to sing some of my hits, then I’m gonna go down to the galley for some peanut butter and ‘nana sandwiches.
One of Elvis Presley’s trademark affectations was a desire for this sandwich, often called an “Elvis.” Oddly enough, it is forgotten that bacon is another key ingredient. It is prepared on slices of toasted bread, smeared with peanut butter (and sometimes honey) and then padded with banana slices and bacon. Then the whole thing is cooked in a frying pan.
Who are you, Chuck Woolery?
Chuck Woolery has hosted a number of game shows during his career but is probably best known for Love Connection, a Dating Game-type show, which he hosted from 1983-1994.