1003: Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

by Chris Baumgartner

So this is how Madeleine Albright makes decisions.
Madeleine Albright is a politician and diplomat who was President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001; before that she was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Her policy was typically one of appeasement (for North Korea) and non-engagement (for Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Palestine, etc.).

Her house is HO scale.
HO scale is one of the standard scales used for model trains, slot-car racers, and other scale-model vehicles. The exact scale ratio is 1:87.1.

Is there any cheaper vodka than Popov?
The British booze giant Diageo makes the low-end vodka brand Popov. It is pretty bad. Vodkabuzz.com gives it an average rating of 1 star. And according to mst3k.wikia.com, yes, there is a cheaper vodka: Royal Gate Vodka, which has a rich history of being compared to rubbing alcohol, antifreeze, formaldehyde, etc.

Larry “Bud” Melman in drag.
Larry “Bud” Melman was the offbeat name used by actor Calvert DeForest (1921-2007) when he appeared on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. When CBS lured Letterman away in 1993, NBC claimed intellectual property rights over much of Letterman’s shtick, including the Melman character. In his appearances on Letterman’s Late Show, DeForest continued to play the same character but used his real name.

I am “who am,” the wise guy.
In Exodus 3:14 in the Bible (English Standard Version), God speaks to Moses through a burning bush, saying, “I Am Who I Am. … Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”

She’s tapped into the mystical world of Parker Brothers.
Parker Brothers is a U.S. toy company founded in the 1880s. Some of their famous board games include Monopoly, Sorry!, Risk, Clue, and Trivial Pursuit. They are now a subsidiary of Hasbro, which bought them in 1991.

Tom Bosley was her hand double.
The rotund and wrinkly (but genial) Tom Bosley (1927-2010) played Ron Howard’s father, Howard Cunningham, in the TV series Happy Days (1974-1984).

[Hummed.] “The Munsters’s Theme.”
The theme song to the TV sitcom The Munsters was written by Jack Marshall. It was nominated for a Grammy in 1965 but lost out to the theme to The Pink Panther.

Kenneth Starr is Mrs. Fortune Teller.
Kenneth Starr was the special prosecutor appointed in the 1990s to investigate the Whitewater land deals in Arkansas involving Bill and Hillary Clinton. His investigation became increasingly wide-ranging, culminating in the Starr Report to Congress, which led to Clinton’s impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives over the president’s attempts to hide his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Senate acquitted him by a nearly party-line vote.

Tito Puente!
Tito Puente (1923-2000) was a famous percussionist and bandleader. You can see him perform in the 1992 movie The Mambo Kings. He is associated with modern jazz mambo and salsa music. He wrote the famous song “Oye Como Va,” popularized by Carlos Santana.

Cal Tjader?
Cal Tjader (1925-1982) was a jazz vibraphone player, percussionist, and bandleader. He was a big name in the West Coast Latin jazz movement in the 1950s and ‘60s.

Chatty Cathy, where you got to go, baby?
Chatty Cathy is a famous talking doll toy made by Mattel; it was introduced in 1960. It had a small record inside that would play one of 11 phrases when a string in her back was pulled.

I use Pearl Drops, mmm.
Pearl Drops is a brand of whitening toothpaste that uses the slogan “Mmmm … it’s a great feeling.”

The Fudge Stripe factory’s been hit.
Fudge Stripes cookies are made by Keebler, supposedly by elves in a hollow tree: a shortbread cookie with stripes of chocolate on top and a solid chocolate coating on the back.

It’s the Monkees’ audition tape.
The Monkees never had an audition tape. They were a band created specifically to star in a TV show, The Monkees, which capitalized on the success of The Beatles’ movies. Although they started out as purely a media creation, with the members of the band not actually playing their instruments, they later toured as an actual band with great success. Hits included “I’m a Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville.”

It’s McHale’s timeshare in Sarasota.
McHale’s Navy was a TV sitcom about a group of bumbling misfits aboard a PT boat in World War II. It starred Ernest Borgnine as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale. The show aired from 1962-1966.

Save it for Carson, grandpa.
Johnny Carson (1925-2005) was the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson from 1962 until 1992. Carson would do a monologue every night followed by celebrity interviews, stand-up acts, music, and skits.

“I’m talking about …” Shaft. John Shaft.
Isaac Hayes wrote and sang the soul-infused “Theme from Shaft” for the 1971 movie Shaft, which starred Richard Roundtree as P.I. John Shaft; it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Lyrics include: “You see this cat Shaft is a bad mother-/Shut your mouth/But I’m talkin’ about Shaft.”

“That changes a person’s life forever. –Like what?” Metamucil.
Metamucil is a bulk fiber laxative that comes in powdered form; when mixed with water or juice, it acts to relieve constipation.

This guy took his life, as lovers often do.
“You took your life, as lovers often do” is a line from the 1971 Don McLean song “Vincent,” also known as “Starry, Starry Night,” a song about painter Vincent van Gogh.

Twinkle! Ugh … It’s all I can manage.
The lyrics to the lullaby “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star are from a 19th-century poem by Jane Taylor called “The Star.” The tune is an 18th-century French children’s song.

Merlin was a thieving crackhead who fenced VCRs to feed his habit.
VCR stands for videocassette recorder, a home electronics device that records analog television programming onto a magnetic tape videocassette. Now replaced by streaming, DVD players/recorders, Blu-ray players, and digital video recorders (DVRs), VCRs ruled the home entertainment landscape in the 1980s and 1990s, with prerecorded tapes widely available for purchase or rental, and blank videotapes used for home recording. The last major Hollywood film released on videocassette was A History of Violence in 2006. 

Oh, sorry, this was my spec script for The Rookies.
The Rookies was a TV cop series from 1972 until 1976. The show followed the lives of three rookie police officers and starred future Charlie’s Angel Kate Jackson as an R.N.

Jackpot! A Mr. Bulky’s.
Mr. Bulky was a chain of bulk candy stores, but it appears sadly dwindled since the 1990s.

I’m Tinker Bell. –I’m Tinker Bell! –No, I am!
Tinker Bell is a small flying fairy from the 1904 play Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie; Disney made an animated version of the Peter Pan story in 1953. Since the 1950s, Disney’s live action television series, including Walt Disney Presents and The Wonderful World of Disney, have used an animated opening credit sequence featuring Tinker Bell flying amid the fireworks over Cinderella’s castle.

[Gasp!] Leon Russell.
Leon Russell is a bearded songwriter and keyboard player who penned numerous rock hits in the 1960s and ‘70s. His songs were often more famous when performed by others, including “Superstar” (a hit for The Carpenters), “Delta Lady” (Joe Cocker), and “This Masquerade” (George Benson).

Where is that Great Clips coupon?
Great Clips is a chain of hair salons with more than 3,500 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Hey, it’s an obsessive hand washer.
Frequent, repetitive, and ritualistic handwashing is a common manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a mental disorder that can also force sufferers to repeatedly check things like door locks, turn lights on and off in a specific pattern, and have certain thoughts cycle through their mind repetitively. Not fun.

I prefer Jarlsberg, thank you.
Jarlsberg is a type of mild yellow cow’s-milk cheese from Norway.

Look at all these Gordita wrappers; what have I been doing?
Taco Bell’s version of a gordita (Spanish for “little fat one”) is a taco inside a thicker, bread-like soft shell. Traditional gorditas are baked in a masa shell, something like a hot pocket.

[Merlin’s Shop of Mystical Wonders sign.] And nightcrawlers.
Nightcrawlers are a common type of earthworm used as fishing bait.

Scrooge! Oh, sorry, you’re not Scrooge.
Ebenezer Scrooge is the central character in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novella A Christmas Carol. He is a miser who learns the true meaning of Christmas after being visited by three spirits. When Scrooge enters his house on Christmas Eve, he sees a ghostly image of Jacob Marley, his former business partner, in the door knocker.

Ebenezer … Ah, damn, I did it again.
See previous note.

It’s George Stephanopoulos.
The diminutive George Stephanopoulos was President Bill Clinton’s communications director and advisor from 1992 until 1996. After leaving politics he became a talking head on ABC’s political commentary show This Week and rose to become chief anchor of ABC News and a co-anchor of Good Morning America.

It’s a blue cheese U-Store-It.
Blue cheese is the name for a number of cheeses that have had a mold culture added (specifically, Penicillium, perhaps you’ve heard of it) that causes the final product to have veins of blue or grey mold laced throughout, giving the cheese its distinctive smell. A large number of self-storage companies use derivations of the phrase “You Store It,” such as U-Stor-It, U-Store-It, U-Store It, UStore-it, etc.

I just know Meat Loaf is going to walk in in some big robe.
Meat Loaf (b. Marvin Lee Aday) is a famously beefy musician who saw his highest success in the 1970s, with such hits as “Bat Out of Hell” and “Paradise by the Dashboard Light.” His large frame caused him to sweat so profusely while performing that grasping a hand towel along with a microphone became his signature stage look. He began acting in 1975, and a progressively slimmer Meat Loaf has since appeared in more than 50 movies and TV shows.

Is that Bella Abzug?
Bella Abzug (1920-1998) was a U.S. congresswoman from 1971-1977 and was known for her strong opposition to the Vietnam War and her support of women’s rights, as well as for her large collection of wide-brimmed hats.

Jam Productions presents: Merlin!
Jam Productions, Ltd. is an Illinois-based concert promoter, hosting live acts mostly in the Chicago and Minneapolis metro areas.

Lifetime Network?
Lifetime is a cable TV channel whose programming focuses on women. It airs second-run shows such as The Golden Girls and Designing Women, as well as many original made-for-TV movies.

Man, I love Glendale.
Although there are roughly 23 cities or towns in the United States named Glendale, the obviously Southern California look of this experiment indicates they’re referring to the Los Angeles suburb, which sits on the edge of the San Fernando Valley and has a population of about 200,000.

I want Runaway Bunny.
The Runaway Bunny is a 1942 children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown, author of Goodnight, Moon.

“It’s a lure.” A Bass Oreno.
The South Bend Bait Company made the famous Bass Oreno lure from 1915-1982; after that the Luhr Jensen company bought the rights, and still makes the lures today. They look like a small round fish with three treble hooks hanging down.

It’s getting stronger, it’s like ammonia and White Castles.
White Castle is a chain of fast food burger restaurants founded in 1921, located mostly in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic U.S. Their classic burger is often called a “slider”: a small, square, thin beef patty on a square bun with a touch of onion and a dill slice.

“I am the Supreme Being.” Clapton?
In the late 1960s, spray-painted graffiti began appearing around London saying “Clapton is God!” in homage to electric blues guitarist Eric Clapton, who played in such influential bands as The Yardbirds, Cream, and John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers.

It’s a pie from Bakers Square.
Bakers Square is a chain of restaurants known for takeout pies. The chain is owned by American Blue Ribbon. Some people still know them by their previous names: Mrs. C’s and Poppin’ Fresh Pies.

“It’s a book of magic.” With a Pop-O-Matic.
Pop-O-Matic is a self-contained method for rolling dice included in several Kohner/Milton Bradley board games, including Trouble, Headache, 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, causing the die (or dice) to tumble inside. The TV ad for Trouble used it as a selling point: “Pop-O-Matic pops the dice, pop a six and you move twice.”

It’s on the Oprah list.
From 1996-2011, talk show host Oprah Winfrey chose a list of books for her followers to read, known as Oprah’s Book Club. Her large, devoted fan base had a major impact on the publishing business, called “The Oprah Effect.” In some cases sales of the books increased by several million copies; one study estimated the total impact of the book club at 55 million copies.

But I probably should get around to destroying Kozlak’s hardware.
The Kozlaks are a Minneapolis restaurant dynasty, with multiple generations operating the Jax Café and Kozlak’s Royal Oak for decades; sadly the Royal Oak closed in 2014. However, before the Jax Café opened as a bar and restaurant with the end of Prohibition in 1933, great-grandfather Stanley Kozlak operated a furniture store, hardware store, and funeral parlor from the same location, beginning in 1910.

“Words in their purest form could actually command the elements.” Bob Hope?
Comedian-actor Bob Hope (1903-2003) was known for his snappy stand-up delivery and for his dedicated support of the USO, providing entertainment to troops in the field from World War II through the Persian Gulf War. For many years he hosted celebrity variety shows on NBC (typically with a buxom co-host), and founded a golf tournament, the Bob Hope Classic, in 1960.

Doesn’t he look like Judy’s husband, Punch?
Punch & Judy is a classic children’s puppet show dating back to the 1600s. Punch’s wife, Judy, tends to be beaten to death during the play, making it unpopular with modern politically correct killjoys.

Those Altoids are curiously strong.
Altoids, those “curiously strong” breath mints that come in an old-fashioned tin, were created in Britain in 1780 and originally marketed as a soothing stomach remedy. They are currently owned by W. Wrigley Jr. Co., through their subsidiary Callard & Bowser-Suchard.

She’s Julie Hagerty-ing.
Julie Hagerty played the breathless, confused girlfriend to Ted Striker in the 1980 comedy movie Airplane! After that she had problems with being typecast in that role.

Say, that Merlin guy called and invited me down to Barbados for the weekend.
A former British colony and a popular vacation destination, Barbados is an island located southeast of Jamaica, off the coast of Venezuela.

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.

I’m taking the flashlight and the Longaberger basket, that’s all I need.
Stand-up comic Steve Martin’s first starring film role was in the 1979 movie The Jerk, in which he played a rags-to-riches-back-to-rags character named Navin Johnson. In his fall from wealth, he becomes a drunk and staggers out, taking with him various random items such as a chair, an ashtray, and a remote control. With each item, he tearfully declares "And that's all I need!" The Longaberger Co. has made woven maple-wood baskets since 1973; their headquarters building, located in Newark, Ohio, is in the shape of one of their baskets, handles and all.

Damn, I singed my Mary Engelbreit calendar.
Mary Engelbreit is a St. Louis-based artist who launched a successful greeting card business in the late 1970s that has branched into home décor, calendars, and books.

“Dragon’s breath.” Clorets can help.
Clorets is a line of gum and breath mints with an interesting chlorophyll taste. It came out in 1951, and is now made by Cadbury Adams, which is part of Kraft.

Unlike How to Meet Girls, which did nothing for me.
The timeless book How to Pick Up Girls, by Eric Weber, was first published in 1970; revised and updated editions were published repeatedly over the following decades—early editions go for big bucks on eBay. There was also a 1978 TV movie by the same name, starring Desi Arnaz, Jr., and Bess Armstrong, about a guy whose love life gets really groovy after he writes a book called How to Pick Up Girls. Apparently the key to success has to do with something called “talking.” (The book also claimed it was normal to consider raping women you passed on the street, that women wore miniskirts so men would get sexually aroused, and women who approached men instead of waiting to be asked out felt like “whores.” The 1970s, everyone!)

“This is incredible.” Like that show with Fran Tarkenton.
Fran Tarkenton was a quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings from 1961-1966 and again from 1972-1978. His nickname was “The Scrambler.” He was a co-host on That’s Incredible!, which was a TV series that featured people doing strange stunts; it aired from 1979-1984.

Now to find Dick Weber’s split-pickup spell.
Dick Weber (1929-2005) was a legendary pro bowler. He won 30 PBA tournaments, and is remembered for his devotion to the sport. He is in the USBC Hall of Fame.

Magic makes me hungry for grilled brats.
“Brat” is short for bratwurst, a type of sausage that is particularly popular in the American Midwest.

Adnan Khashoggi, que pasa.
Adnan Khashoggi is a businessman and an international arms dealer from Saudi Arabia. He became fabulously wealthy (in the early ‘80s, he was one of the richest men in the world) and built a giant party ship called the Nabila that was used in the James Bond film Never Say Never Again. He is retired and lives in Monaco.

A Jell-O garden slug.
Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin dessert that comes in vibrant colors; it is made by Kraft Foods. It dates back to around 1900 and can be molded into many different shapes.

I need to get a new underarm crystal; this one has been good to me, but I must say goodbye.
Deodorant crystals composed of potassium alum are sold at health food stores. They look like large, clear mineral gemstones; when moistened, they can be used under the arms as natural deodorants.

He turned into the Grinch.
The Grinch is the main character in the 1957 children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, which was made into an animated Christmas special for TV in 1966. A grouchy fellow who dwells in a mountain cave, he sets out to steal Christmas from the Whos in Whoville, but eventually learns the true meaning of the holiday and has a change of heart.

This is an impersonation of cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man, who is known for continuously talking and chuckling to himself. His voice was supplied by Jack Mercer, who also did Felix the Cat.

Meow-meow safe, meow-meow very safe.
Marathon Man is a 1976 film starring Dustin Hoffman as a graduate student who gets drawn into a search for diamonds stolen from Jews during World War II. Spoiler alert: Hoffman is interrogated and tortured by a former Nazi death camp dentist (Lawrence Olivier), who repeatedly asks him, “Is it safe?”

I’ve got your Fancy Feast, served in Waterford crystal with parsley.
Fancy Feast is a brand of canned gourmet cat food owned by Nestlé Purina. Their TV commercials in the 1980s showed a white, long-haired cat eating from a faceted crystal goblet. Waterford is a maker of fine crystal glassware. Named for the city of Waterford, Ireland, they make about 750 tons of crystal a year.

He was drawn by Dave Berg.
Dave Berg (1920-2002) was a longtime artist (46 years) for Mad magazine. His works include “The Lighter Side of …” and the pipe-smoking hypochondriac Roger Kaputnik, who functioned as his alter ego.

What, me? You talking to me?
According to the American Film Institute, “You talkin’ to me?” is tenth on the list of the 100 greatest movie quotes of all time. It was spoken by Travis Bickle (played by Robert De Niro) into a mirror in the 1976 Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver.

That Damned Cat.
That Darn Cat! is a 1965 Disney film starring Hayley Mills as the owner of a cat that helps foil a bank robbery and kidnapping. It was remade in 1997 with Christina Ricci in the Mills role.

Hello. It’s Alastair Sim.
Scottish character actor Alastair Sim (1900-1976) played Ebenezer Scrooge in one of the more beloved film versions of A Christmas Carol, in 1951 (titled Scrooge in the U.K.). That’s the one with the very disturbing Tiny Tim (Glyn Dearman). Patrick “John Steed” Macnee also puts in an appearance as the young Jacob Marley.

Hi, guy.
In the 1970s, Gillette Right Guard deodorant/antiperspirant ran TV ads in which a man opens his bathroom mirror cabinet to find he is sharing it with a boisterous neighbor (played by Chuck McCann), who would always say, “Hi, guy!” The neighbor would explain that they have to share the cabinet and inquire about the Right Guard stocked therein.

In the previously mentioned Right Guard ads, after being tormented by his neighbor for a while, eventually the first man would make a face like a colicky baby and plaintively call out “Mona!” to his wife off-screen. 

That bastard, he turned me into Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was one of the most important historical figures in the early United States. He was a writer, an inventor, and a statesman. He was one of the framers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and helped negotiate the U.S. alliance with France during the war and the Treaty of Paris that ended the war. He is the only Founding Father whose signature appears on all four documents.

You know, Satan could have at least blended the edges of his bald wig a little better. –And make Satan the owner of my soul; I've got to give it to you, Merlin. Good one.
Satan (a.k.a. the Devil) is the personification of evil, primarily featuring in Christian and Islamic traditions. He is most often described as a “fallen angel” of God, though his initial job seems to have been as a prosecutor of sorts, sent to test men’s faith.

I have Ted Danson hair.
Actor Ted Danson has male-pattern baldness, which he covers either with what’s left of his own hair or a partial wig, but the effect is famously full, thick, and lush. Danson is best known for playing bartender Sam Malone on the TV sitcom Cheers (1982-1993) and to later audiences as Dr. John Becker on Becker (1998-2004).

You blew it up!
This is a paraphrase of Charlton Heston’s final lines from Planet of the Apes. Actual lines: “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was … We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”

Shoot, all I have is Keith Richards’ old blood.
There is a durable urban legend that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards beat a heroin addiction by having all of his drug-addicted blood replaced with clean blood at a mysterious clinic somewhere in Switzerland. Richards himself got the rumor started in 1971 when he was, in fact, heading to Switzerland to kick heroin, and was hounded by reporters at the airport, telling them “I’m going to have me blood changed.” Richards later wrote “After that, it’s like it’s in the Bible or something. I just said it to fob them off.”  The truth: Richards did indeed partake of an unconventional, accelerated therapy for heroin withdrawal that involved a blood cleansing process similar to dialysis, but he didn’t have his blood “replaced.”

He bought the bed from Linda Blair.
Linda Blair got her start as a child actress, with her most famous role being the little demon-possessed girl who spins her head around and vomits pea soup in the 1973 film The Exorcist. She went on to act in a number of B-movies, including Roller Boogie and Chained Heat.

It’s the Wallace method for going down to breakfast.
Wallace and Gromit are man and dog claymation characters created by animator Nick Park. In their short film The Wrong Trousers, which won an Academy Award in 1993, Wallace creates an elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption for getting him dressed and down to the breakfast table.

Riff Raff at home.
Riff Raff is the “handyman” who works for Dr. Frank N. Furter in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The part was played by Richard O’Brien, who also wrote the stage musical and co-wrote the screenplay.

I came, I saw, I made cheese dip?
This is a parody of words attributed to Roman Emperor Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.E.): “Veni, vidi, vici,” meaning, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The Latin phrase refers to his speedy victory over Pharnaces II at the Battle of Zela in northern Turkey, which was fought in 47 B.C.E.

Some Chicken in a Biskit would be perfect with this.
Chicken in a Biskit is a savory Nabisco snack cracker that first appeared in 1964. They are available in original and BBQ flavors. Try them as a substitute for Saltines in your favorite meatloaf recipe. Delightful!

“It’s working!” My gray is going away gradually.
Grecian Formula is a hair dye for men that promises to gradually get rid of gray hair over a period of weeks—thus presumably making it less obvious that you dye your hair. It is manufactured by Combe Inc.

Dr. Jerko and Mr. Crap.
The novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde was published by Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) in 1886. It is about a scientist, Henry Jekyll, who discovers a formula that unleashes his darker side, a.k.a. Edward Hyde. Stevenson also wrote Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and other tales of adventure.

One ninety-eight, one ninety-nine … These are two hundred-count percale.
Percale is a kind of tightly woven fabric that is associated with sheets and bedding. Thread count refers to the number of woven threads per inch. Thread count has become a complex marketing gimmick aimed at selling higher thread counts at higher prices when it is questionable whether they are truly higher quality.

Based on a story by Sigmund Freud.
A lot of Freud jokes are based on his attempts to interpret dreams—in particular, dreams about sex. Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was a pioneer in the science of psychiatry. His early attempts at trying to understand mental illness blazed a trail to modern psychoanalysis.

It’s Merlin’s sex book, picture him with Big Daddy Kane.
Big Daddy Kane (b. Antonio Hardy) is a rap star who appeared in the mid-‘80s with Juice Crew and has had a long career collaborating with artists such as Patti LaBelle, MC Hammer, and Tupac Shakur. In 1992 he made a cameo appearance in Madonna’s notorious coffee table book Sex.

Well, before I hit the hay, I’ve got to feed the ravens, scoop out the troll box, and, oh yeah, I've got to z-out the cash register.
In the wonderful world of retail, one of the end-of-the-day, closing-up-shop tasks is to “z-out” the cash register, which categorizes and tabulates all of that day’s sales and leaves a clean slate for the next business day. Oh, and we’re going to need you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, mmm-kay?

Chessmaster 2000.
The Chessmaster 2000 is a computer chess program created in 1986. It was originally published by The Software Toolworks, but the copyright is now held by Ubisoft. The box showed a Merlin-like character with his fingers pressed to his temple.

The Dr Pepper guy is burglarizing him.
Dr Pepper ran ad campaigns in the late 1970s featuring celebrities like David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) and Ray Bolger (Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz). Their jingle was “I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, she’s a pepper, we’re a pepper; wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?”

Dino, no!
Dino was the pet purple dinosaur on The Flintstones, a Hanna-Barbera primetime cartoon show that ran from 1960-1966. Dino had a tendency to be a little overly enthusiastic in greeting his master, which, being a dinosaur and all, meant knocking Fred Flintstone to the ground.

Is that you, Beany boy?
Beany and Cecil was a Bob Clampett cartoon that aired in primetime in 1962 and then ran repeats on Saturday mornings through 1969. The cartoons were based on an earlier puppet show, Time for Beany (1949-1954). Beany was a boy with a propeller cap that actually flew, and Cecil was an anthropomorphic sea serpent. Joel Hodgson has said in many interviews that characters from Beany and Cecil were loose inspirations for some of the MST3K characters.

You know, if it was beware of Daryl Dragon, I could relate.
Daryl Dragon (1942-2019) is The Captain, of Captain & Tennille (Tennille’s name is Toni Tennille). The successful husband-and-wife soft-rock duo had several big hits in the 1970s, such as “Muskrat Love” and “Love Will Keep Us Together,” and had their own TV variety show from 1976-1977. In 2014 the couple filed for divorce after forty years of marriage.

Maybe a cheesehead hat, a long plastic horn.
Fans of the NFL Green Bay Packers are known as “cheeseheads” in honor of Wisconsin, America’s DairylandTM. They wear hats shaped like wedges of cheese to cheer on their team.

I’m going to end things with Nimue anyway, it’s not fair to Zurella.
In the Arthurian legends, Nimue is the Lady of the Lake, an enchantress who gives Excalibur to King Arthur. In some versions of the stories, she also seduces Merlin, learns his secrets, and traps him in a cave.

[Sung.] Guy with a toy monkey on the run.
“Band on the Run” was a 1974 hit song by Paul McCartney & Wings. Sample lyrics: “Band on the run/Band on the run/And the jailer man and Sailor Sam were searching everyone/For the band on the run/Band on the run.”

Hi, I’m Satan approved.
See note on Satan, above.

I bet she sweats to the oldies.
Celebrity fitness maven Richard Simmons released a series of exercise videos starting in the late ‘80s called Sweatin’ to the Oldies, in which he got people moving in his trademark short shorts and tank top.

[Imitating Pee-wee Herman.] Ahhh! Heh, heh, heh, heh …
Pee-wee Herman is a character created by comedian Paul Reubens (1952-2023). A hyperactive man-child in a too-tight grey suit and a red bowtie, Pee-wee began as a somewhat adult-oriented stage act in The Groundlings improv comedy troupe in Los Angeles; the show was filmed for a very popular 1981 HBO special. Reubens then toned down the adult humor and brought Pee-wee to the big screen with Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985, with Tim Burton directing. The movie was a hit, leading to an Emmy Award-winning children’s television series, Pee-wee’s Playhouse, which ran on CBS from 1986-1991. Another feature film, Big Top Pee-wee, was released in 1988. Reubens later performed other roles in various movies and TV shows, but continued with the Pee-wee character, including in 2016 for the Netflix movie Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.

Could someone please play the 1812 Overture?
Noted Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the bombastic 1812 Overture as a tribute to Russia’s successful defense against the French army led by Napoleon Bonaparte in that year. It is notable for its massive use of percussion, including cymbals, various drums, and, in the finale, actual cannon fire.

Love will keep us together. Oh, Muskrat Sam.
See above note on Captain & Tennille. Muskrat Sam is mentioned in their song “Muskrat Love.” Toni Tennille sported a classic ‘70s blond shag haircut, similar to the mother’s hair here.

It’s a HoneyBaked ham.
The HoneyBaked Ham Company owns a nationwide chain of stores that sell precooked, spiral cut, takeout hams and other large, hard-to-prepare dishes such as roast turkey.

[Sung.] I will, I will, I will.
Another line from “Love Will Keep Us Together” (see previous note).

So I don’t get the Intellivision?
Mattel developed the first major challenge to the mega-successful Atari 2600 game platform with Intellivision in 1979. Despite memorable TV commercials featuring spokesman George Plimpton and great games, cost pressure from the competition nearly bankrupted the company. By the end of 1983, Mattel Electronics had gone from 300 engineers to exactly two. The division closed the following year, a victim of the video-game crash that would ultimately claim Atari as well.

Every time a bell rings, a devil gets his horns.
In the 1946 Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, an earthbound guardian angel named Clarence tells George Bailey that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.

Do that to me one more time.
The title to a 1979 song by Captain & Tennille (see above note).

Wasn’t there a movie that once featured these things? –Yeah, St. Elmo’s Fire, I think?
St. Elmo’s Fire is a 1985 film starring the Brat Pack (Judd Nelson, Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, etc.) as a group of friends coping with life after college. The theme song, performed by John Parr, became a huge radio hit, hitting number 1 for two weeks.

Too many Seagram’s Golden Coolers.
Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers came out in 1986. The cheap date facilitator was discontinued in the ‘90s.

No, Mom, I don’t know why they took Hazel off the air.
The TV sitcom Hazel, which aired from 1961-1966, starred Shirley Booth (1898-1992) as Hazel Burke, a maid for a successful corporate lawyer and control freak who is continually upstaged by his housekeeper.

Wow, Mom’s Youth-Dew is so strong it came over the phone and killed the plants.
Youth-Dew was Estée Lauder’s first scent, introduced in 1953 as a bath oil rather than a perfume. In its first year on the market, Youth-Dew sold fifty thousand bottles; by 1984 it was selling 150 million bottles.

I think he has one of those new-fangled Lacoste shirts on.
Izod Lacoste was an American-French partnership that popularized the “alligator” polo shirt, which became a must-wear fashion trend during the “preppie” era in the early ‘80s, along with Members Only jackets, down-filled snow vests, and top-siders. The trend lasted longer than most, but by the late ‘80s it was wardrobe poison.

Now Mr. Wilson’s doing nude yard work again.
Dennis the Menace is the freckled, overall-sporting, slingshot-carrying neighborhood terror in the comic strip of the same name, created in 1950 by Hank Ketcham. His foil and nemesis is his next-door neighbor, Mr. Wilson, a grouchy retired postman. In the TV series based on the comic strip, which aired from 1959-1963, Mr. Wilson (a retired salesman in this version) was played by Joseph Kearns.

Oh, that’s right, Moses cursed me.
The biblical account of Moses, found in the book of Exodus, states he called down ten divine plagues to get Egypt’s pharaoh to free the children of Israel from bondage. While there was no specific curse against plants, there was a curse of locusts, which were supposed to “eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field” (Exodus 10:5).

This is the evil toy monkey, for Polident.
Polident is a product for people with false teeth or dentures. It is a cleanser that you drop into a glass of water that sterilizes and bleaches clean your teeth while soaking overnight. The brand is owned by Glaxo Smith Klein.

[Imitating the Fly.] Help me!
In the original 1958 film The Fly, a scientist played by David Hedison was split and fused with a housefly in a teleportation accident. Spoiler alert: The tiny housefly was lost for most of the film until the end, when it was caught in a spider web. The tiny human face and voice crying, “Help me! Help me!” as a spider bore down on it scared a lot of people at the time.

John McEnroe writing letters of apology to various line judges.
John McEnroe is a former men’s tennis champion. He had a famously bad temper and frequently showed poor sportsmanship on the court, with his tantrums against referees resulting in fines and suspensions. After retiring, he admitted to playing while on steroids, but claimed they had been given to him without his knowledge.

Is that two-hour Incredible Hulk special on tonight, or is that tomorrow?
The Incredible Hulk TV series starred bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno and Bill Bixby as the Hulk/David Banner. It ran from 1978 until 1982.

This place has much nicer weather than Camelot; it never snows at all.
Camelot is the castle home of the legendary King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. In the tales, Merlin the Wizard served King Arthur.
Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said [Sung: 1812 Overture].
See above note on the 1812 Overture.

Mats? Evonne? Björn?
These are the first names of three famous former tennis pros: Mats Wilander, Evonne Goolagong, and Björn Borg.

He’s with Elliott.
Elliott was the boy who bonded with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in the 1982 film of the same name. He was played by Henry Thomas.

If you don’t talk to your kids about bedspreads, who will?
An old anti-drug public service ad campaign asked, “If you don’t talk to your kids about drugs, who will?” The slogan has been retired, but a parody lives on, in the form of T-shirts and the like, which ask “If you don’t talk to your cat about catnip, who will?”

And grow some hair, son.
Another John McEnroe reference (see above note). One of McEnroe’s best-known temper tantrums on the tennis court found him yelling at a bald line judge, “Grow some hair!”

You know, Frampton really did come alive.
Frampton Comes Alive! is a record album by rock guitarist Peter Frampton; it was released in 1976. It featured live versions of songs like “Do You Feel Like We Do” and “Baby, I Love Your Way.”

The Crips move in.
The Crips are a nationwide organized crime network that started as a street gang in Los Angeles around 1969. They specialize in drug trafficking, murder, extortion, and various kinds of theft.

I got Tang and Bugles.
Tang is a powdered orange drink mix made by Mondel─ôz International. It became popular when NASA sent it to space with the Mercury and Gemini astronauts. In 2013, lunar astronaut Buzz Aldrin revealed his true opinion: “Tang sucks.” Bugles are a crunchy corn snack food made by General Mills since the 1960s.

Brought to you by LSD.
LSD (which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the strongest hallucinogenic drugs. It is a Schedule I illicit controlled substance, banned by international treaty. However, beginning in the 21st century, renewed interest arose in investigating its possible therapeutic use by psychiatrists.

I’m just waiting for Firing Line.
Firing Line was a political debate program on PBS hosted by noted conservative writer William F. Buckley Jr. It featured one-on-one discussion between Buckley and various political, religious, or intellectual figures, followed by a brief counterpoint discussion presented by a liberal observer. It ran from 1966 until 1999.

I’m going to buy an Ann Jillian poster later.
Ann Jillian is an actress who sported a memorable bottle-blond bob. She actually did appear on the sitcom Hazel, but is better remembered for various side roles, such as appearing on Bob Hope’s TV specials and playing waitress Cassie Cranston on It’s a Living. She had her own show, Ann Jillian, which was axed after 13 episodes. She famously had a double mastectomy after a breast cancer scare in 1985.

My AMC Pacer’s in there.
The AMC Pacer was a bit ahead of its time. It was an American-made two-door hatchback that was built from 1975 until 1980. It had a rounded bubble shape and a small engine that made it relatively efficient, but it could not compete against the Volkswagen or Japanese compacts. AMC was bought by Chrysler in 1987 and became its Jeep-Eagle division.

Aw, it melted my leisure suit.
A leisure suit is a lightweight casual men’s suit originating in the 1930s on the West Coast (where they were known as Hollywood suits). Leisure suits are most strongly associated with the 1970s, when they became both popular and inexpensive due to the ready availability of polyester in a wide variety of pastel colors.

“A psychic.” Dionne Warwick.
In the 1990s, the adult-contemporary singer Dionne Warwick became a spokesperson for the Psychic Friends Network. Psychic Friends ran infomercials hosted by Warwick with a call-in number to talk with a psychic for $3.99 a minute. Despite their massive cash flow, they went bankrupt in 1998 but later reopened under new management and replaced Warwick with Vivica A. Fox. Warwick declared bankruptcy herself in 2013 due to huge outstanding tax bills, including $7 million owed to the IRS.

“Come here a second, Mike.” And the Mechanics too.
Mike + The Mechanics is a U.K. band that started as a side project for the guitarist from the band Genesis, Mike Rutherford. They featured vocalists Paul Carrack and the late Paul Young. Hit singles during the 1980s included “Silent Running,” “All I Need Is a Miracle,” and “The Living Years.”

Come on, put on John Philip Sousa, I’m dying to use these.
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was an American composer known for his military band marches. “The Liberty Bell March” was used as the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” is the official march of the United States.

Killdozer! Oh, no, it’s a vacuum.
Killdozer is a 1974 TV movie about a construction crew building an airstrip during World War II who uncover an ancient evil spirit, which promptly takes control of their heavy equipment and begins to wreak havoc. The movie was based on the 1944 novella Killdozer!, by Theodore Sturgeon and originally published in Astounding magazine. Killdozer has attained cult status, with multiple references on MST3K, Rifftrax, and Beavis and Butthead. An ‘80s punk band from Wisconsin named themselves Killdozer, and a wrecker in the 2007 Robert Rodriguez action/horror movie Planet Terror borrowed the name as well. When auto shop owner Marvin Heemeyer took an armored and armed bulldozer on a rampage through the town of Granby, Colorado, in 2004, destroying thirteen buildings, news outlets invoked the name, and when Conan O’Brien mentioned the movie on The Tonight Show, it got more than three million YouTube hits within a week.

[Sung.] Tum-ti-tum, the night Chicago died, tum-ti-tum.
Does anyone remember the 1974 hit single by the British band Paper Lace? “The Night Chicago Died” is about a shootout between police and members of Al Capone’s gang. Paper Lace also sang “Billy Don’t Be a Hero.”

Times Square, nude show, check it out. Good show. Times Square.
From the 1960s to the 1990s, Times Square in New York City was characterized by prostitution, adult movie houses, and strip clubs. Beginning in the mid-‘90s, NYC embarked on a very public effort to revitalize the area. Today it is quite different, no longer seedy but bland, overcommercialized, and irrelevant.

[Sung.] I’m going where the sun is shining through the pouring rain …
These are lyrics from the song “Everybody’s Talkin’,” famously performed by Harry Nilsson as it was used in the X-rated movie Midnight Cowboy. It won a Grammy in 1969.

Can’t believe they have Sam Neill playing me; should have been Skeet Ulrich.
Sam Neill is an actor probably best remembered as Dr. Alan Grant in Jurassic Park and its sequel Jurassic Park III. In 1998 Neill played Merlin in a TV miniseries by the same name, which also starred Miranda Richardson as Queen Mab and Helena Bonham Carter as Morgan le Fay. Skeet Ulrich starred in Scream as Billy Loomis and has starred on several TV shows, including Miracles and Jericho.

I’d better get back to ABBA.
ABBA was an internationally famous Swedish pop group in the 1970s, renowned for such hits as “Mamma Mia,” “Take a Chance on Me,” and “Dancing Queen.” The wispy, bearded Benny Andersson was their keyboardist and one of their main songwriters.

Dad is so going into the cornfield.
In the 1961 Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” a young boy with godlike powers (played by Billy Mumy) controls his entire town; anything or anyone he dislikes disappears forever, and is said to have been wished “into the cornfield.” (Thanks to Brendan James for the correct wording of the riff.)

Monkey’s getting pyorrhea.
Pyorrhea is another word for periodontitis, or inflammatory gum disease that can lead to loss of teeth.

Mike Douglas is on.
Mike Douglas is best known as the host of his own TV talk show, The Mike Douglas Show, from 1961 to 1982. He got his start as a singer with the Kay Kyser big band. He had an easy-going Midwestern style.

I’ve got to go. They just got Barb Wire at Blockbuster.
Barb Wire, based on the Dark Horse comic book, was a 1996 sexploitation vehicle for Baywatch’s Pamela Anderson. A bar owner in a post-apocalyptic police state must … meh. It’s basically the same plot as Casablanca, only with more shower scenes and car chases. MSTie trivia: MST3K: The Movie was distributed at the same time as Barb Wire, both by Gramercy Pictures, which was laboring under budget constraints at the time. Gramercy chose to sink its promotional efforts (and dollars) into Barb Wire, virtually ignoring MST3K: The Movie. Blockbuster was a nationwide chain of videocassette and DVD rental stores before it went to mail order and download only, forced out of business by Netflix and instant video downloads.

What are you doing, Dave?
This is a line from the classic 1968 sci-fi film 2001: A Space Odyssey, spoken by the computer HAL 9000 as astronaut Dave Bowman attempts to disconnect it after it has killed the rest of the crew. The eerily calm voice of HAL was played by stage actor Douglas Rain.

Do this and I will call a legion of Beanie Babies down on you.
Beanie Babies are a line of stuffed animal toys sold by Ty Inc. that became a cult collector phenomenon in the 1990s. They were created by entrepreneur Ty Warner and first sold en masse in 1993. As of 2016, Warner’s net worth was $2.2 billion.

[Sung.] And the field of barley, and the fields of gold.
A paraphrased line from the song “Fields of Gold” by Sting, which appears on his 1993 album Ten Summoner’s Tales. Sample lyrics: “Will you stay with me, will you be my love/Among the fields of barley?/We’ll forget the sun in his jealous sky/As we lie in fields of gold.”

There are cigar bars even in the desert?
Upscale cigar bars for smokers became quite a trend in the 1990s. Cigar smoking rooms adjacent to restaurants were a familiar sight up until the mid-aughts.

“You are going to have to do better than that, you little bastard!” Is he yelling at Mason Reese?
Child actor Mason Reese appeared in an enormous number of ads in the 1970s, including a series of commercials for Underwood Deviled Ham, in which he famously mispronounced the word smorgasbord as borg-a-smord. The pudgy little fellow has grown up to become a very very pudgy New York City restaurateur.

Satan subcontracts with God to arrange a storm.
See note on Satan, above.

Doesn’t he know it’s dig a pony, shock the monkey?
“Dig a Pony” is a song by The Beatles off their 1970 album Let It Be (early pressings of the album in the United States mistitled the song as “I Dig a Pony,” which is the first line of the lyrics). “Shock the Monkey” was a hit 1982 song by Peter Gabriel off his album Security.

Meanwhile, on a dry model …
Variations of this phrase originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators of films, radio, and television shows. Most recently, it was used in the various Superfriends animated series of the late 1970s. Narrator Ted Knight would say, “Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice ...” or “Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom ...”

Bugs Bunny must have taken that wrong turn at Albuquerque.
In the Warner Bros. animated shorts, Bugs Bunny uses this famous line for the first time in the 1945 cartoon Herr Meets Hare. After tunneling into the Black Forest, he looks at his map and says, “I knew I shoulda made that left turn in Albuquerque …” He would go on to repeat the phrase in many subsequent shorts.

What’s the big deal about wet t-shirts, Mike? I just don’t see the appeal.
In the opening host segment of Show 1001, Soultaker, Crow and Tom are baffled as to why their wet T-shirt contest is so boring. Perhaps it’s because the shirts are neatly folded in baking pans, and the competition is based on the fabric’s comparative absorbency?

Sorry, Unitarian, according to you I’m in the butterflies and the Sun and I’m just a vague benevolent force. You’re on your own.
The Unitarian Universalist Association is a liberal religious movement that often incorporates atheists, agnostics, and members of other, marginalized religions in the U.S. (such as pagans, Taoists, Buddhists, etc.). They emphasize religion as a personal spiritual experience and have little or no dogma about the existence or nature of God.

I have rigor mortis.
Rigor mortis is a condition that usually begins three to four hours after death, in which chemical changes cause the muscles of the corpse to stiffen.

Oooh! –What? –I hear laughter in the rain.
The prolific songwriter Neil Sedaka sang and helped write “Laughter in the Rain” in 1974, but more important, he also wrote “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which was popularized by Captain & Tennille (see above note).

Here’s something else Satan created: Japanimation.
Japanimation is an outdated term for anime, a highly stylized form of Japanese animation often traced back to 1960s manga artist Osamu Tezuka. His works include Black Jack, Astro Boy, and Kimba the White Lion; all three were adapted for anime. Popular anime series include Dragon Ball Z, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Kill la Kill.

This is the anime version of Peter Rabbit.
Artist and writer Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) wrote and illustrated the popular children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902, in which Peter gets into trouble sneaking into Mr. McGregor’s garden to steal his vegetables.

Did you tape Robert Schuller for me?
Dr. Robert Schuller (1926-2015) was a televangelist, pastor, and author who appeared on the TV series Hour of Power, broadcasting from the “famed” Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. Schuller finally retired in July 2010 at the age of 83; three months later the Crystal Cathedral declared bankruptcy. In 2012 the building was sold to the Roman Catholic Church.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff.” Mostly Ringo hats.
Ringo Starr was the drummer for The Beatles. During their heyday in the 1960s, people copied everything they did and wore, including Ringo’s fisherman’s cap, which can be seen in the 1965 movie Help!

Ride, Shadowfax, ride!
In the classic fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Shadowfax is a horse given to the wizard Gandalf by Théoden, king of the Rohan.

God can’t help, he’s too busy helping Reggie White win football games.
NFL defensive lineman Reggie White (1961-2004) earned the moniker “The Minister of Defense.” He was a tough player for the Philadelphia Eagles for eight seasons and later with the Green Bay Packers for six, with 13 Pro Bowl invites and a career total of 198 sacks (second best in the NFL, behind Bruce Smith). He was also an ordained Baptist minister, hence the nickname. He died of a heart attack at the age of 43.

Saint Merlin, not recognized by the Catholic Church.
The number of saints that have been canonized by the Roman Catholic Church ranges from 800 or so up to 10,000—it seems to be difficult to get an exact head count. The first official saint, Bishop Ulrich of Augsburg, was canonized in 993 by Pope John XV. Formal canonization can take decades or centuries, although Peter of Verona, a 13th-century priest assassinated over his denunciations of heresy, was canonized a breathtaking eleven months after his death.

Ronald McDonald’s half-sister.
Ronald McDonald, a clown character dressed in bright primary yellow and red, is the main mascot of the McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain. He first appeared in 1963 and was initially played by Willard Scott, who went on to greater fame as the Today Show weatherman.

I also have a script called “Chinatown,” but I don’t like it as much.
The great 1974 Roman Polanski film Chinatown starred Jack Nicholson as a seedy private eye who uncovers a case of corruption in Los Angeles. The screenplay, which won an Oscar, was written by Robert Towne.

Then Merlin went Chapter 11, and the magical trees and trolls were liquidated, and today, he’s an assistant manager at The Limited.
Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, and “going Chapter 11” has become another way of saying “go bankrupt.” The Limited is a franchised chain of women’s clothing stores that started in the mid-‘60s. The chain became very popular in the 1980s, which allowed them to buy up a number of other chains, including Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant, Lerner, and for a while Abercrombie & Fitch. The company also owns Justice, Bath & Body Works, and Structure.

You know, this store folds they could open a Zurella’s Secret.
Victoria’s Secret is a retail chain specializing in women’s lingerie and beauty products. It was founded in 1977 by American businessman Roy Raymond as a place for men to buy lingerie without feeling intimidated or uncomfortable. Its fashion shows and catalogs, featuring top fashion models in extremely revealing attire, are both admired and derided as widely available softcore pornography. Deep trivia: Roy Raymond sold Victoria’s Secret for $1 million in 1982. By the early 1990s the company was worth more than $1 billion, while Raymond had gone bankrupt with other business ventures. He committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in 1993.

You want to know my favorite not-pieced-together Ernest Borgnine movie? It’s the one I saw about a butcher. A lonely butcher, used to hang out with a bunch of other single guys, until he meets just the right lonely woman. –Ah, Marty.
Marty earned actor Ernest Borgnine his Best Actor Oscar in 1955. It was based on an earlier TV script by Paddy Chayefsky (Network), about the simple life of a tubby middle-aged butcher looking for love. (Chayefsky also wrote the screenplay for the film.) It also won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay.
And together they are pursued by an evil monkey, they lead a group of rock-hard ex-convicts behind German lines in exchange for their freedom.
In the 1967 film The Dirty Dozen, Ernest Borgnine plays U.S. Army General Sam Worden, who assigns Lee Marvin to train a squad of convicts for a suicide mission in exchange for a pardon for those who survive.

Oh, no, it’s the same movie, Mike. It’s the one with the evil monkey, you know, it’s great. Ernest also leads a bunch of people out of a huge capsized ocean liner; I can’t believe you’ve never heard of this.
Ernest Borgnine plays Mike Rogo, a cop who is newly married to former hooker Linda (Stella Stevens) in the 1972 Irwin Allen disaster film The Poseidon Adventure, a movie about a small group of survivors trying to escape a capsized ocean liner.

At some point … it’s one movie, you know. Someone pledges their love from here to eternity. I think—it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but the evil monkey appears out of nowhere and shouts—it’s so hideous, it shouts, “McHale! McHale!”
From Here to Eternity is a 1953 film starring Burt Lancaster as an army sergeant who falls in love with his captain’s wife (Deborah Kerr). See above note on McHale’s Navy.

I think it’s called Airwolf.
Airwolf was a TV series about a super-fast combat helicopter; it aired from 1984-1987. It starred Ernest Borgnine and Jan-Michael Vincent for the first three seasons; the fourth season had an entirely new cast.