K09: Phase IV
by Trey Yeatts
Makes me hungry for a Milky Way.
Milky Way is a brand of candy bar with caramel-topped nougat coated with milk chocolate. It was created in 1923 by Frank Mars in Minnesota and is produced by Mars Incorporated.
Night of the Crawler.
A number of horror movies have used the “Night of the _______” title structure, of which the all-time champion has to be Night of the Lepus, a 1972 “horror” film about giant bunnies menacing a group of folks in the Southwest. Lepus is noteworthy mainly for its cast, which included Psycho’s Janet Leigh and DeForest “Bones McCoy” Kelley.
Looks kinda skinny. Must be a Carpenter ant. Carpenter, get it? –Oh, no. You don’t mean that. –ANTorexic. –Ha! See? Servo got it!
Karen Carpenter (1950-1983) was half of the brother-sister music duo The Carpenters with her sibling, Richard. In 1983, Karen died from heart failure attributed to her anorexia nervosa.
They’re trying to find a picnic. You see, ants can carry entire watermelons. And giant chicken legs. It happened in The Flintstones.
The animated TV series The Flintstones aired from 1960-1966. A prehistoric take on The Honeymooners, it starred the voice talents of Alan Reed (as patriarch Fred Flintstone) and Mel Blanc (as Fred’s pal Barney Rubble). The show was the first prime-time animated hit. In the episode “The Snorkasaurus Hunter,” a horde of ants invades the Flintstones’ picnic and carries off all their food.
Antstock. They tried to have Woodstock, but the termites came.
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair was a three-day festival in August 1969, considered to be a seminal moment in pop culture and a generational touchstone. More than 500,000 concert-goers descended upon Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York, to hear musical acts including Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Who and Jimi Hendrix. (Don’t eat the brown acid.)
Now the giant Goliath ant comes through the desert.
A reference to the biblical tale of David and Goliath, wherein the young Israelite David slew a huge Philistine warrior named Goliath with his sling.
This isn’t a Gamera movie! Their mouths are moving with the words.
A reference to the previous five films Joel and the ‘bots riffed. Gamera is a popular Japanese franchise of “kaiju” (“monster”) films about a giant flying turtle that befriends children and occasionally stomps Tokyo.
They don’t look like whales. They look like Gumbys.
Animator Art Clokey created Gumby, the green, lopsided claymation figure, in 1956. The television show starring Gumby, Pokey and friends aired original episodes for seven years, from 1956 to 1963. A Gumby short, “Robot Rumpus,” aired as part of Show 912, The Screaming Skull.
[Sung.] You’re out of the woods, you’re out of the dark, you’re out of the night.
The opening lines to the song “Optimistic Voices” from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, sung when Dorothy and company are awakened by snow in the Field of Poppies and they approach the Emerald City.
They’re looking for Sandy Duncan.
Sandy Duncan is an actress who has appeared on TV shows and in stage productions and movies. In the 1980s, she did a series of commercials for Wheat Thins crackers that showed her standing in the middle of a wheat field. (Thanks to Michael Grutchfield for the Wheat Thins reference.)
Two men, outstanding in their field.
Possibly a reference to the old joke about the farmer who’s trying to win the Nobel Prize by hanging around outside on his farm—because he’s heard they give the prizes to men who are out standing in their fields.
He’s making a puppet out of it. –What’s a puppet? –Oh, you wouldn’t want to know. –A Haitian dictator.
After the United States invasion of Haiti in 1915, a series of rulers were installed by America in the ensuing decades. In 1957, heavily influenced by these dictatorships, François “Papa Doc” Duvalier became president, followed by his son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in 1971. In later decades, both Duvaliers were considered puppets of the Haitian military by the people and a series of coups rocked the country in the late 1980s.
He’s won the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes!
Publisher’s Clearing House is a direct marketing firm that sells discounted magazine subscriptions and other merchandise. PCH became well known for its Prize Patrol, which filmed commercials of PCH representatives knocking on the doors of winners to award multimillion-dollar prizes. Beginning in the 1990s, PCH was hit with a series of lawsuits regarding its business practices and promotions (not to be confused with American Family Publishers, which had Ed McMahon and Dick Clark as spokespersons).
I get the feeling she can twist her head around. And I don’t think pea soup agrees with her.
In The Exorcist, a 1973 film about the demonic possession of a young girl (played by Linda Blair), Blair turns her head all the way around on her neck and vomits pea soup in a couple of famous scenes.
Oh, no. It’s Mothra!
A reference to a popular Japanese “kaiju.” Mothra was, as you might expect, a giant moth. She appeared in a number of films, including Mothra (1961) andGodzilla vs. Mothra (1964).
They’re not doctors but they play one on TV. They’re not actors, but they play one on TV.
A series of commercials for Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup in the 1980s featured General Hospital actor Chris Robinson dressed in a white lab coat, saying, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Fellow soap actor Peter Bergman, of The Young and the Restless, later took over the role.
Looks like the Douglas home. [Sung.] Da-duh de-da duh. –The stores! –Da-duh de-da duh. –The chores! –Da-duh de-da duh. –Fresh air. –Da-duh de-da duh. –I’m square.
A paraphrase of the lyrics to the theme song of Green Acres, a TV sitcom that ran from 1965 to 1971. It starred Eva Gabor (1919-1995) as Lisa Douglas, the socialite wife of an attorney who tries to adapt to life in the rural town of Hooterville.
There’s Jackie Gleason.
The 1950s television sitcom The Honeymooners starred Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden and Audrey Meadows as his long-suffering wife Alice. The opening sequence featured caricatures of the actors superimposed over the moon.
Frau Blücher, as played by Cloris Leachman, is the sinister housekeeper in the 1974 horror spoof Young Frankenstein. A running gag in the movie has horses, even ones that are not particularly close by, panicking whenever her name is spoken.
It’s the Frosted Mini-Wheats a-comin’.
Frosted Mini-Wheats is a cereal manufactured by Kellogg’s. It is made of shredded wheat cereal and frosted on one side.
[Sung.] When the log rolls over we will all be sizzled to a fine crisp.
A paraphrased reference to an old joke about a haunted lumberjack shack. To wit: Three guys take a bet that they can’t spend one night in the haunted lumberjack shack up in the woods. They’ve only been there an hour when they hear a chorus of voices singing, “When the log rolls over we will all be dead.” Two of the guys are terrified—these must be the ghosts of the lumberjacks! They bolt out the door. The other guy decides to stay. An hour later he hears the voices again, coming from behind a door at the other side of the room: “When the log rolls over we will all be dead.” So he slowly stands up, walks over to the door, grabs the doorknob, and opens it. And behind the door is a toilet, and in the toilet are three ants, on top of a turd, arms around each other, singing, “When the log rolls over we will all be dead.” (I never said it was a good joke.)
Looks like we’re having s’mores. –Ant-flavored s’mores.
S’mores are a favorite campfire snack, consisting of a toasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate (ideally Hershey’s) sandwiched between two halves of a graham cracker. Its origin is unclear, but recipes have appeared as early as 1927. The origin of the name is a bit more obvious: a contraction of “some more.”
Quick! Get the Raid!
Raid is a brand of household insecticide made by SC Johnson and first manufactured in 1956.
Couldn’t they just cover the house with Off? Wouldn’t that pretty much protect them? –You mean put Off on? –Yeah.
Off! is an insect repellent made by SC Johnson.
When you’re out in the woods, you can’t beat Off.
The punch line to an old dirty joke about Off! insect repellent (see previous note).
Then I do the Hokey Pokey and I turn myself around. That’s what it’s all about.
A reference to the classic kids’ song “Hokey-Pokey.” Some theories of its origin date back to the mid-nineteenth century. Elsewhere around the world, the song is known as “Hokey Cokey,” “Okey Cokey,” “Hokey Tokey,” etc.
Put them all together and you’ve got a tango.
Tango is a style of music and dance that originated in Argentina and Uruguay in the late 1800s. It is known for its sensuality.
Uncle Fester? –Uncle Festered. –Festering.
Uncle Fester is a character on the television series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966. The role was played by Jackie Coogan. In the feature films based on the TV show, Christopher Lloyd played Fester.
Shecky Greene (1926-2023) was a comedian known for his nightclub standup act, mostly in Las Vegas.
That must be the Ugly Duckling ant. –Little do we know that it’s going to turn into a beautiful, blossoming centipede.
“The Ugly Duckling” is a fairy tale by Danish author Hans Christian Anderson. It tells the story of a homely little bird that was mocked by the other animals around the farm until, one day, it grew up and became a beautiful swan. It was first published in 1843.
Tupperware is a brand of plastic storage containers that are traditionally sold at “Tupperware parties,” in which a sales representative (usually a woman) makes her pitch to a group (again, usually women) gathered at someone’s home. They were first made in 1946.
Give them the Orkin test.
Orkin is a pest-control service created by Latvian immigrant Otto Orkin. In 1901, Orkin began selling rodent poison door-to-door. In 1912, he opened his first office in Richmond, Virginia, as “Otto the Rat Man.”
Ants make your party mix more lively. –Chex party mix, with ants.
Chex mix is a traditional Middle American snack mix containing Chex cereal, nuts, bagel chips, pretzels, margarine and spices.
You know, this ant problem seems kinda minor in the midst of the flying turtle problems that the people of Japan experienced. I think we’re being insensitive.
See note on Gamera, above.
Don’t they catch on? –They’re just working their way up to the rubber tree plant. –You mean that song, “Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant?” –“Just what makes that little ol’ ant think he can move a rubber tree plant? Everyone knows an ant can’t! Move a rubber tree plant.”
A paraphrase of several lines from the 1959 song “High Hopes,” written by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, featured in the film A Hole in the Head. A hit version was recorded by Frank Sinatra.
Or Robert Plant.
Robert Plant was the lead singer for Led Zeppelin, a wildly influential rock band known for such hits as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Dazed and Confused.” After the band split up in 1980, Plant enjoyed a successful solo career.
[Sung.] “But she’s got high hopes! She’s got high hopes! Got the high apple pie ...”
See previous note on “High Hopes.”
Why don’t they just call in the raisins?
The California Raisins were advertising mascots for the California Raisin Advisory Board beginning in 1986. They were anthropomorphized raisins who, more often than not, performed rhythm and blues numbers. Musician Buddy Miles (1947-2008) was the lead singer of the Raisins. The Raisins were spectacularly popular, spawning toys, TV specials, albums, and a cartoon series.
All roads lead to Epcot.
See note on Epcot Center, above. “All roads lead to Rome” is a proverb dating to the time of the Roman Empire, when Rome was the center of civilization and the Romans’ superb road system—when all roads literally did lead to Rome.
That is trippy. Maybe ants built Stonehenge.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric arrangement of stones and excavated earth dating back some 4,500 years. Located in Wiltshire, England, the site is marked by dozens of huge, fifty-ton stones. Modern theories on its purpose range from astronomical to religious.
Kinda looks like an Escher print.
M.C. Escher (1898-1972) was a renowned Dutch graphic artist known for his mind-bending works that appear to fold space upon itself and transcend logical expectations.
Perhaps there’ll be a Mouseketeer reunion. That will be very interesting.
The Mouseketeers were a group of children who starred on The Mickey Mouse ClubTV series (1955-1959). They wore T-shirts and Mickey Mouse ears. Several of the Mouseketeers went on to have show business careers, the most famous of whom is Annette Funicello.
A reference to a popular Memorex cassette tape ad from the 1970s featuring jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996). At the end of the spot, the tape plays back Fitzgerald singing a note that shatters a wine glass.
Have we hit Phase III yet? –Oh that’s right. We’re only in Phase II. Phase III, they broadcast whole songs. –Barry Manilow. That’ll get rid of them.
Barry Manilow is a singer/songwriter who enjoyed a string of hits in the 1970s, including “Copacabana” and “Mandy.”
Phase IV, they’ll start watching Lucy.
Lucille Ball (1911-1989) had a string of successful sitcoms in the 1950s and 1960s: I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour and The Lucy Show. The later seasons of Here’s Lucy (1968-1974) tumbled steadily in the ratings until CBS declined to renew the show for a seventh season. Then, in 1986, Ball starred in the critically reviled and virtually unwatched Life With Lucy.
That’s one huge ant. –No, that’s two huge ants. It just looks like one huge ant. –Maybe it’s two huge ants in an ant suit. Kinda like the Ice Capades.
Ice Capades was a touring entertainment company that created theatrical productions centered around ice skating. Shows often featured retired Olympic champions and officially licensed characters from various popular TV shows and movies. In 1940, the first shows began in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It went out of business in 1995.
It’s Kwai Chang Caine.
Kwai Chang Caine, as played by David Carradine, was the young Shaolin monk who traveled the American West, helping people with their personal problems and kicking booty, in the TV series Kung Fu, which aired from 1972-1975.
Tastes great. Less filling.
“Tastes great, less filling” is an advertising slogan for Miller Lite beer that began in 1973 and ran for more than fifteen years.
That’s gotta hurt. –Hurt who? –Al Hirt.
Al Hirt (1922-1999) was a legendary New Orleans trumpeter who ran a club on Bourbon Street for more than twenty years.
A reference to an old advertising slogan for Folger’s Coffee, “Mountain Grown for Richer Flavor.” A search of YouTube will find one particularly enjoyable commercial about a wife who just can’t make a good cup of coffee. Poor, dumb woman.
Ant carnage. The spoils of ant warfare. –Is that related to Art Carnage?
Art Carney (1918-2003) was an Academy Award-winning actor best known for playing Ed Norton in The Honeymooners.
Ant-mageddon. Sort of. –The Battle of Ant-mageddon.
Armageddon is a prophesied epic battle mostly associated with religions, such as Christianity, that have “end time” beliefs.
Maybe Kreskin’s one of the ants. –KreskANT.
The Amazing Kreskin (formerly George Kresge; he has legally changed his name) is a mentalist who made numerous appearances on television shows throughout the 1970s and ‘80s. He still makes annual appearances on New Year’s Day to give his predictions for the coming year.
There’s ant A. Look, ant B! Get it?
Aunt Beatrice “Bee” Taylor was Sheriff Andy Taylor’s sister on The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960-1968. The part was played by Frances Bavier.
They’re spelling something. “Surrender Dorothy.”
A reference to the famous skywriting sequence in The Wizard of Oz, in which the Wicked Witch spells out “Surrender Dorothy” with her broom in the sky.
ANTie Em! ANTie Em! God, I crack me up.
A reference to another line from The Wizard of Oz, spoken by Dorothy (Judy Garland).
When the ants are humming sweet and low. –I think they’re humming Equal.
”Sweet and Low” is a song based on a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson, set to music by Joseph Barnby in 1863. Sweet’N Low is an artificial sweetener made from Saccharin and first produced in 1957. Equal is another brand of artificial sweetener made with aspartame; it was first sold in the early 1980s.
[Sung.] If I could talk to the animals ... –In their languages.
Dr. John Dolittle was the lead character in a series of children’s books by Hugh Lofting. Dolittle was able to communicate with animals in their own languages. The basic story was made into a musical film in 1967 (from which this song is taken), an early ‘70s cartoon series and two films beginning in 1998 starring Eddie Murphy as the doctor. (There were three direct-to-video sequels focused on Dolittle’s daughter, who had the same gift.)
[Sung.] The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah. The ants go marching ...
Based on the Irish antiwar song “Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye” (which became “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” when imported to the United States and rewritten to reflect the Civil War), “The Ants Go Marching” is a popular song with kids.
Looks like we’ve gotta go to RadioShack again.
RadioShack is a chain of electronics stores based in Fort Worth, Texas.
He must want to get a starring spot in the comic strip “B.C.”
“B.C.” is a comic strip first produced by Johnny Hart in 1958 centered around a group of cavepeople and other prehistoric animals (including ants).
But one tin soldier rides away.
A line from the ‘60s anti-war song "One Tin Soldier," written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. It became a charted hit in connection with the film Billy Jack (1971), when it was performed by the rock group Coven.
Kinda looks like the Seaview, doesn’t it? That submarine on that show? –With giant air passages to crawl through.
The Seaview was the high-tech submarine on the TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (and the film of the same name), which aired from 1964-1968.
Hey, little buddy. I just dreamed I was the Skipper and I’ve got a hunger for banana cream pies.
In his role as Skipper on the TV show Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967), Alan Hale referred to Gilligan (Bob Denver) as “little buddy.” And he often craved banana (and coconut) cream pies.
That happened to a HoHo I had in my lunchbox once.
HoHos are snack cakes manufactured by Hostess. They consist of a chocolate cake layer wrapped around a creamy filling and then covered in chocolate.
Mars ... needs ... women.
Mars Needs Women is a 1968 science fiction film starring Tommy Kirk and Yvonne Craig. In it, Martians radio Earth for help, as the only children being born on their planet are males.
It’s an “O.” It’s a giant game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
The classic children’s game Tic-Tac-Toe (or Noughts and Crosses, as it’s known in England) appears to date back to ancient Egypt and was quite popular in the Roman Empire, so think about the heavy weight of history the next time you’re playing it to an inevitable draw.
Buy Sunkist oranges.
Sunkist Growers Inc. is a cooperative of some six thousand citrus growers from California and Arizona. In 1908, they adopted the “Sunkist” name for their highest quality oranges. Over the years, they’ve licensed the name for many products, including Sunkist soft drinks.
Great. SATs for ants. –ANTs. –Ant SATs.
The SAT Reasoning Test, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a standardized written exam given to high school seniors as part of the college preparation process; most colleges and universities consider SAT scores as one of the major criteria for acceptance.
That’s not a problem. You’ve got to fuss with the horizontal hold.
On TVs made before the digital age, horizontal hold was a common knob used to adjust the picture if it began to scan repeatedly from side to side.
Nobody wears bellbottoms these days. C’mon.
Bellbottom pants are trousers that become wider from the knees down. They first appeared in the nineteenth century, but they became the height of fashion in the late 1960s and into the ‘70s.
I wonder if Linda Blair read for this part. I can really see her playing this.
See note on The Exorcist, above.
Maybe it’s a giant game of Tic-Tac-Toe for the ants.
See note on Tic-Tac-Toe, above.
That’s it. A big shoe. –Fly it in. From France. They have one there. I don’t know if they could get it here in an hour ...
A paraphrase of lines from Show K07, Gamera vs. Zigra, regarding a bathyscope.
What are they going to do with all of those helium tanks? –That’s Pepsi.
Pepsi is a major brand of cola, the chief competitor to Coca-Cola. It was first made in 1898 in North Carolina by pharmacist Caleb Bradham and sold as “Brad’s Drink.”
She’s Purina Ant Chow now.
Purina Dog (and Puppy) Chow is dog food made by the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company. In the late 1800s, Purina produced various food products for farm animals using “Chow” as part of its name (Purina Horse Chow, Purina Rabbit Chow, etc.).
Looks like they sent away for Mother Earth News plans for that thing. –It’s a geodesic dome. –She runs off hot water.
Mother Earth News is a magazine started in 1970 that sells kits for greener living and offers lots of tips for being hippie-ish.
Scientists go in but they don’t come out.
A paraphrase of the longtime advertising slogan for Roach Motels: “Roaches check in—but they don’t check out.”
A sandworm! No, that’s Dune.
In the classic science fiction novel series Dune, begun by Frank Herbert in 1965, giant sandworms live on the planet Arrakis and produce the spice melange that fuels the galactic economy.
This made flying turtles look good.
See note on Gamera, above.