1105: The Beast of Hollow Mountain
by Sean Marten
Oooo, Desilu font.
Desilu Productions was a television production company established in 1950 by then-husband-and-wife team Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, through which they produced their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957); later Desilu produced such other shows as The Untouchables (ABC, 1959-1963), Star Trek (NBC, 1966-1969), and Mission: Impossible (CBS, 1966-1973). Lucille Ball bought out Arnaz’s share and ran the company herself starting in 1962; it was the number-one independent TV production company until Ball sold it in 1967. The “script” font for the Desilu logo—similar to, but not quite the same as the Coronet font—wasn’t introduced until 1952, and was used through 1963. It was designed by Howard Anderson Jr., who also designed the titles for I Love Lucy.
[Sung.] I’ll never beast of hollow mountain … I pay full price, with no discountin’ …
“Beast of Burden” is a 1978 song by The Rolling Stones, appearing on their studio album Some Girls. Sample lyrics: “I'll never be your beast of burden/I’ve walked for miles my feet are hurting/All I want is for you to make love to me.”
This movie wasn’t released. It escaped!
This is an old film industry joke that has been floating around Hollywood for years; its origin is uncertain. British actor Peter O’Toole used it in the DVD commentary for his 1980 movie The Stunt Man, which got extremely limited release despite rave reviews and three Academy Award nominations. Director Robert Altman used it when discussing his classic 1970 film MASH, complaining about his clashes with the studio. And B-movie favorite Bruce Campbell used it when introducing his low-budget horror debut The Evil Dead, filmed with childhood friend Sam Raimi.
My favorite rapper did the color: DeLuxe!
Possibly a reference to the German rapper Samy Deluxe, who released his first solo album in 2001; his sixth album, released in 2016, hit number 4 on the album charts in Germany.
Regiscope: Filmed by the crowned heads of Europe.
Regiscope is a stop-motion animation process developed by Beast director Edward Nassour, which will be seen later in the movie when the “Beast” finally appears. The phrase “crowned heads of Europe” dates back to the late 18th century. It appears in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, painted on the side of Professor Marvel’s coach: “Acclaimed by the crowned heads of Europe.”
[Name in credits: Raul Lavista.] Hasta la vista, baby.
“Hasta la vista” is a Spanish farewell, more or less the equivalent of “see you later” or “until next time.” “Hasta la vista, baby” became a catchphrase when Arnold Schwarzenegger said it (twice) in the 1991 sci-fi/action movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day (European Spanish versions of the film replaced the line with “Sayonara, baby”). During his career in politics, Schwarzenegger used the line a few times in speeches.
Jorge Stahl, author of the harrowing memoir Permanent Medianoche.
Jerry Stahl is an American author and screenwriter best known for his 1995 memoir Permanent Midnight, which details his struggles with heroin addiction (medianoche is Spanish for midnight). A 1998 film adaptation of the book stars Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.
Yeah, do we get a prize if we get it right? Or can I accept cash value in lieu of a prize if I don’t like the prize?
Often, game shows don’t actually hand out the fabulous prizes they announce their winners are receiving on the show. Instead, they give the “cash value” equivalent instead, since it’s obviously easier on everyone to cut a check than to hassle with delivering a brand-new Cadillac halfway across the country.
[Imitating Paul Rodriguez.] Co-produced with Peliculas Rodriguez, ese.
Paul Rodriguez is a Mexican-American standup comedian, actor, and TV host. He frequently ends sentences with “ese,” which colloquially, especially in Southern California, is the Spanish equivalent of “dude,” “bro,” or “man.” However, there’s a second meaning as well. Ese is the Spanish pronunciation of the letter “S,” which can stand for Sureños (Southerners), a large network of Southern California Latino gangs with ties to the Mexican Mafia. So calling someone “ese” in Northern California, home of the rival Norteño gangs, could be a big mistake. Proceed at your own risk.
Downtown Albuquerque, 1987.
Albuquerque is the biggest city in New Mexico, with a population of about 560,000 (as of 2018) and the Rio Grande flowing through town.
[Sung.] We are the Three Amigos …
A bit of the opening theme song of ¡Three Amigos!, a 1986 comedy/western film starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, and Martin Short. Very loosely based on The Magnificent Seven (1960), it tells the story of three washed-up silent movie stars who are mistaken for real-life heroes by residents of a bandito-terrorized Mexican village. It was written by Martin, longtime Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels, and singer Randy Newman and directed by John Landis (National Lampoon’s Animal House, An American Werewolf in London).
I guess this is only three-quarters of an apocalypse.
As described in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, often interpreted as representing pestilence, war, famine, and death, bring about God’s wrath upon the world in the form of the Last Judgment.
The good, the bad, and the guy who, let’s say, has a great personality.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is considered one of the quintessential spaghetti westerns, directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach, respectively. Van Cleef went on to become “The Master” in MST3K Show 322, Master Ninja I, and Show 324, Master Ninja II. The euphemism “She/he has a great personality” for someone who is not conventionally attractive dates back to at least the mid-20th century, and was stereotypically employed on blind dates, to trick someone into agreeing to going out with them sight unseen.
Okay, we’re in Frontierland now, so if we go that way, we’ll be in Tomorrowland.
Frontierland and Tomorrowland are sections of the Disney theme parks. At the original Disneyland in Anaheim, California, Frontierland and Tomorrowland are separated by either Fantasyland or Main Street, USA. At the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, they are separated by Liberty Square. Disneyland Tokyo has “Westernland” and Tomorrowland, and Disneyland Hong Kong has “Grizzly Gulch” and Tomorrowland. Disneyland Paris has Frontierland and “Discoveryland,” with a retro-futuristic theme.
Georgia O’Keeffe’s been here!
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was a highly respected American painter known for her sensuous paintings of flowers, rocks, landscapes, and skulls. Lots of skulls. She lived in New Mexico for most of her career, and many of her paintings have a strongly Southwestern flavor.
Tell you what, movie, why don’t you just let these guys get where they’re going and we’ll meet you there?
Possibly a riff on a beloved line from standup comic Mitch Hedberg (1968-2005): “I’m sick of following my dreams, man. I’m just gonna ask where they’re going and hook up with ‘em later.”
[Sung.] I am a lineman for the pueblo …
“Wichita Lineman” is a song written by Jimmy Webb that became a hit for singer Glen Campbell in 1968. Sample lyrics: “I am a lineman for the county/And I drive the main road/Searchin’ in the sun for another overload/I hear you singing in the wires …”
Establishing Shot: The Motion Picture!
In filmmaking and television production, an “establishing shot” is a static, usually short, long shot showing the location where the rest of the scene will take place. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a 1979 film based on the cult 1966-1969 TV show.
Nice Beetlejuice pants.
Beetlejuice is a 1988 comedy/fantasy movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as the title character, a freelance “bio-exorcist” ghost who is tasked with scaring a yuppie couple to move out of their newly purchased home. Beetlejuice’s wardrobe favors bold black-and-white vertical stripes.
Plucky sidekick, or monster’s first victim? Only the movie knows for sure. Let’s watch.
Possibly a riff on a famous advertising campaign for Clairol’s home hair coloring products. Introduced in 1956 under the name Miss Clairol Hair Color Bath, the full ad slogan was “Does she … or doesn’t she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.”
Tijuana’s famous Guacamole Reservoir.
Tijuana is a city in Baja California in Mexico, just over the border from San Diego. As of 2020 it had a population of about 2.1 million. Guacamole is a popular dip/condiment with origins going back to the Aztecs in what is now Mexico: to a base of mashed avocados, add any number of other ingredients—usually diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
[Sung.] Jim Dandy to the rescue …
“Jim Dandy” (aka “Jim Dandy to the Rescue”) is an R&B song written by Lincoln Chase and originally recorded in 1956 by LaVern Baker. Southern rock group Black Oak Arkansas released a popular cover of it in 1973; their lead singer, Jim Mangrum, had already been using “Jim Dandy” Mangrum as a stage name before they recorded the song. Sample lyrics: “I’m Dandy, the kind of guy/Who can’t stand to see a little girl cry/Jim Dandy to the rescue!/Go, Jim Dandy! Go, Jim Dandy!”
The origin of CrossFit training.
CrossFit is an exercise regimen that is a registered trademark of CrossFit Inc. and is marketed as both an exercise philosophy and a competitive sport. Created in 2000 by then-married couple Greg Glassman and Lauren Jenai, CrossFit mixes aerobic exercise, calisthenics, and weightlifting.
Oh, they’re putting a Jungle Cruise back there.
The Jungle Cruise is a Disney theme park attraction found in the Adventureland sections of the original Disneyland in California, Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Florida, Disneyland Tokyo, and Disneyland Hong Kong, where the ride is called Jungle River Cruise. The first ride opened when California’s Disneyland debuted, in 1955. Largely inspired by the 1951 Humphrey Bogart movie The African Queen, the ride involves a riverboat cruise down an Asian, African, or South American “river” populated by audio-animatronic animals, led by a live Disney cast member who delivers an energetic, humorous narration throughout.
Uh, you guys lose a Ghostbusters Demon Dog?
Terror Dogs (sometimes called Demon Dogs) are a breed of huge, horned, bear-like hellhounds in the Ghostbusters movie franchise, dating back to the original 1984 Ghostbusters. In that film, two Terror Dogs named Zuul the Gatekeeper and Vinz Clortho the Keymaster were the loyal servants of the Big Bad, Gozer the Gozerian.
[Sung.] I’m a cowboy –[All.] Cowboy! –On an actual horse I ride … And I’m wanted … Beast of Hollow Mountain …
“Wanted Dead or Alive” is a song by American rock band Bon Jovi; it became a top-ten hit in 1987 and one of the band’s signature songs. Sample lyrics: “I’m a cowboy, on a steel horse I ride/I’m wanted dead or alive/Wanted dead or alive.”
Stephen King’s Children of the Maize.
“Children of the Corn” is a short story by horror writer Stephen King, originally published in the March 1977 issue of Penthouse magazine and then included in King’s 1978 short story collection Night Shift. The story led to a low-budget horror movie franchise, beginning in 1984. Maize is another name for corn, reflecting the grain’s Mexican/Native American origins. The pronunciation of “maize” in this riff sounds like an imitation of a 1976 TV commercial for Mazola margarine, in which a Native American woman (Apache actress Tenaya Torres) standing in a corn field delivers a rather stern lecture about Mazola’s corn-based wholesomeness, saying, “You call it corn, we call it maize.”
You just know those walls are gonna get Banksy’ed.
Banksy is an anonymous British graffiti artist (or artists) whose street art is marked by satirical dark humor and a distinctive style of stenciling; Banksy’s work has turned up on bridges, walls, and streets in cities around the world. While many praise Banksy’s work as relevant and thought-provoking, others, especially other graffiti artists, criticize it as derivative, obvious, and “anarchy-lite.”
So this is what became of The Most Interesting Man in the World.
The Dos Equis brand of Mexican beer launched The Most Interesting Man in the World ad campaign in 2006, featuring rugged, tan, silver-haired American actor Jonathan Goldsmith in TV and print ads, with voiceovers (by narrator Will Lyman) and written copy that veer off into strange and fanciful accounts of The Most Interesting Man’s youthful exploits (with the younger version played by Claudio Marangone). The ads were anchored by the slogans “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, it’s Dos Equis” and “Stay thirsty, my friends.” Dos Equis retired Goldsmith in 2016 and replaced him with French actor Augustin Legrand. The ad campaign ended in 2018, but its look and slogans continue to inspire parodies and internet memes.
[Imitating.] Oh, not without a breathalyzer, Wilbur.
Spoken in the voice of Mister Ed, the star of an eponymous TV sitcom about a talking horse that aired from 1961 to 1966 and enjoyed another run of popularity on cable thanks to Nick at Night and TV Land in the late 1980s through 2006. Mister Ed’s distinctive voice was provided by former western star Allan Lane, who went uncredited for the entire length of the series. Wilbur Post (played by Alan Lane) was Ed’s owner, the only human Ed would talk to. Breathalyzer is the generic name for any device that measures a person’s blood alcohol content from a breath sample; breathalyzer devices are sometimes installed in a car’s ignition system, requiring a clean test result before the car can be started.
Giddy up! To the White Castle drive-through!
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. A bag of White Castle burgers is a popular finale to a night of drinking.
Jim Henson’s Magnum, P.I. Babies.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies is an American animated series that follows the exploits of kid versions of the popular Muppet characters. It originally aired on CBS from 1984 to 1991 and has enjoyed a robust afterlife in syndication. “Jim Henson’s _________ Babies,” or some variation, became a standard riff in the original seasons of MST3K. Magnum, P.I. (CBS, 1980-1988) is a detective series starring Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, a private investigator who solves cases amid the lush scenery of Hawaii, usually while sporting a colorful Hawaiian shirt.
In a 2009 episode of the American version of The Office, titled “Gossip,” the show opened with Steve Carell somersaulting clumsily over a couch and screaming, “PARKOUR!” The scene rapidly became an Internet meme. Parkour is a sport, or “training discipline,” that involves moving as fast as possible through a complex environment, typically an urban area, by running, jumping, swinging, rolling, vaulting, and climbing over and around obstacles. It evolved in the late 1980s from military obstacle course exercises in France; the name comes from “parcours du combattant,” French for “obstacle course.”
When Cavalia goes wrong.
Cavalia is a Canadian entertainment company that combines equestrian and theater arts with horses, riders, acrobats, dancers, and musicians. Often called “Cirque du Soleil on horseback,” it was created in 2003 by Normand Latourelle, one of the original co-founders of Cirque du Soleil (see below note).
[Sung.] Oh, say can you see … by the dawn’s early light …
These are the opening lines of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics were written in 1814 by lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after watching the British attack Fort McHenry in Baltimore during the War of 1812 (a battle the British eventually lost). Key’s brother-in-law set the poem to the tune of “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a high-class drinking song written by English composer John Stafford Smith in the mid-18th century. It grew in popularity throughout the 1800s, despite being infamously difficult to sing, and was officially made the national anthem in 1931. The large flag that flew over the fort, inspiring Key, is now displayed in the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Is it okay with you if my horse comes along as my wingman? Ah, ha, I didn’t mean to say “wingman.” That seminar was a complete waste of money.
Taken from the military term for a pilot whose plane is positioned behind and to the side of the leading aircraft in a formation, the slang term “wingman” means a male friend who helps a man meet women in a bar or other social situation. There are multiple seminars that promise to teach men how to attract women, some more respectable than others. The pickup artist (PUA) community, as publicized by Neil Strauss (The Game), has been particularly harshly criticized as misogynistic.
So then George and Jerry were the only ones left in the contest, and you think George is gonna lose, but he wins. Though in the series finale, he admits he cheated. Anyway, it truly was must-see TV.
Season 4, episode 11 of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld (1989-1998) was called “The Contest.” In it, star Jerry Seinfeld and his friends engaged in a contest to see who could abstain from masturbating the longest. The episode was ranked at #1 on TV Guide’s 2009 list of the “100 Greatest Episodes of All Time” and introduced the term “master of my domain” into the popular lexicon. And, yes, George Costanza (Jason Alexander) “won” the contest, but confessed he cheated in the Seinfeld series finale. “Must See TV” was a slogan NBC used in the 1990s, primarily in reference to their Thursday night lineup, which included Seinfeld, Friends, and Frasier, and ruled in the ratings for years.
Mexican Vincent Price?
Vincent Price (1911-1993) was an actor known for his countless roles in B-grade horror films. His distinctively nasal voice, lanky frame, and trim mustache graced such movies as House of Wax (1953), The Fly (1958), House on Haunted Hill (1959), and The Pit and the Pendulum (1961). He also hosted the PBS series Mystery! from 1981 to 1989.
“I have heard of your success.” It’s trending.
Twitter refers to subjects that are being widely discussed on their social network as “trending topics.” The word “trend” dates back to the 16th century (from the Old English word trendan, meaning “to turn rapidly”), and the modern usage of “trend” to mean a new, widely popular fashion or other popular practice didn’t evolve until the 1950s or so.
“… drowned in the swamps.” Like the cast of Duck Dynasty.
Duck Dynasty (A&E, 2012-2017) was a reality TV series that followed the lives of the heavily bearded Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, as they ran a duck-hunting supply business and espoused conservative Christian viewpoints. The show garnered both controversy (for homophobic remarks) and record ratings.
Where’s the rest of my band? There’s a subway full of people whose morning needs ruining.
In New York City, mariachi bands—usually dressed in full formal Mexican ranchero attire—notoriously board subway trains and perform for tips, often to the chagrin of commuters who would really rather they didn’t.
A margarita is an alcoholic cocktail consisting of tequila mixed with orange liqueur and lime juice. It can be served on the rocks or blended with ice, usually in a glass rimmed with salt.
It’s a real catch veintidós.
“Veintidós” is Spanish for “twenty-two.” Catch-22 is a 1961 novel by American author Joseph Heller that follows the lives of U.S. Army Air Force servicemen stationed on a Mediterranean island during World War II, as they struggle to complete their tours without going mad. It was adapted into a 1970 film starring Alan Arkin and Richard Benjamin. The “Catch-22” of the title has become popular shorthand for a no-win scenario. In the book, it refers to the military’s rule that if you’re crazy, you don’t have to fly missions. But you have to ask to be excused from flying, and the fact of asking proves that you’re sane (since anyone who’s sane wouldn’t want to do something that dangerous). And since you’ve just proved you’re sane, now you have to fly.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-dong.
Imitating a doorbell when someone in the movie is pointing at or tapping another character’s chest originated in MST3K Show 301, Cave Dwellers, which featured the ripped, well-oiled torso of Miles O’Keeffe.
Take it where it belongs. To the Super Smash Bros. arena!
Super Smash Bros. is a series of video games for Nintendo; the first came out in 1999. It is a fighting game that features characters from other Nintendo franchises (such as Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, Pokemon, etc.) attempting to knock one another outside the bounds of an arena.
“Sorry, Don Pedro.” As an offering, I will name a chain of Mexican restaurants after you.
There are multiple Mexican restaurants by this name, including a small chain in the Pacific Northwest, but no large national chains.
Klezmer music. Why?
Klezmer is a Jewish musical tradition with origins in Eastern Europe. Klezmer bands known as kapelye typically play at weddings and other celebrations; typical instruments include violin, clarinet, accordion, trumpet, and trombone. Although the genre dates back to the 2nd century CE, it evolved to its modern form when Eastern European Jewish immigrants came to the United States and assimilated American jazz into their traditional music in the early 20th century.
[Imitating.] Guests of Beast of Hollow Mountain stay at the lovely Rancho Bonito.
An imitation of the uniquely bombastic announcing style of Don Pardo (1918-2014), best known as the announcer of Saturday Night Live from its 1975 debut until his death in 2014. In the early seasons of SNL, Pardo made a standard announcement that “Guests of Saturday Night Live stay at the Essex House, overlooking beautiful Central Park.” That announcement was also frequently parodied during “Weekend Update,” in which Pardo would announce that guests stay at the “Blaine Hotel,” followed by a news story about another horrible murder at the Blaine Hotel. Pardo’s 70-year tenure with NBC also included announcing many game shows, including early versions of The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!
I didn’t kill them in my sleep again, did I? I gotta stop ordering those Scorpion Bowls.
A Scorpion Bowl is an alcoholic cocktail consisting of, but not necessarily limited to, various fruit juices, several types of rum, vodka, gin, grenadine or orgeat syrup, and sometimes a floater of sparkling wine. Usually it is served in an extra-large bowl with several straws, a tradition reportedly started at the Polynesian-themed Trader Vic’s restaurant chain, where it is a signature drink.
Oh no, a “Dear Juan” letter.
A “Dear John” letter is, essentially, a break-up letter. The term dates back to at least World War II, when servicemen looked forward to getting letters from home. Typically, a letter would begin with flowery, affectionate prose, but if it began with a brusque “Dear John,” the G.I. braced himself for the worst. The first known printed use of the phrase appeared in 1944. The phrase has since been used as the title of novels, films, and TV shows, all based on the premise of a break-up letter.
We interrupted his Lando Calrissian cosplay.
Lando Calrissian is a character in the Star Wars franchise. The role was played by Billy Dee Williams in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Return of the Jedi (1983), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019) and by Donald Glover in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
And some emojis.
The term “emoji” comes from the Japanese words for “picture” and “character,” so it’s just a coincidence that it sounds similar to “emotion” or “emoticon.” Whereas emoticons are combinations of computer keyboard characters, emojis are fully rendered pictograms that are provided by, or downloaded to, a digital device. They were developed for Japanese mobile phones in 1999, but really took off worldwide in the 2010s.
We take Venmo.
Venmo is a mobile payment service similar to PayPal (and is, in fact, a subsidiary of PayPal). The big difference is that transactions can take up to three days to be final, can be cancelled after the transfer is sent, and include a social media component that makes it possible for, say, a group of people to split a bill. Venmo was founded by two University of Pennsylvania students in 2009.
“I will be responsible for my father.” I’m his sponsor.
In 12-step recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, a sponsor is someone with more experience in the program who provides one-on-one support and direction to a newer member.
“A kid and a tequila hound to help run the ranch.” Tuesdays on TLC.
TLC is a satellite and basic cable network that was founded in 1972 as a U.S. government satellite network, but was privatized and launched as The Learning Channel in 1980, focusing on educational programming with lots of documentaries on nature, science, technology, etc. In the late 1990s, their focus shifted to entertainment programming, and by the early 2000s they had changed their name to TLC and started airing mostly reality shows.
What a dump.
A legendary movie quote famously associated with American actress Bette Davis (1908-1989), who first said it in the 1949 film noir Beyond the Forest, and then referenced the line in the 1964 film Dead Ringer (asking her rich twin sister—also played by Davis—defensively if her apartment was “a dump?”). She was also imitated in the opening of the 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and (famously by Elizabeth Taylor) in its 1966 film adaptation. “What a dump” came in at #62 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time.
Ooo, from the Dixie Chicks line.
The Dixie Chicks (who changed their name to The Chicks in 2020) are an all-female country music band that had a string of hits in the late 1990s, including “Wide Open Spaces” and “Long Time Gone.”
[Sung.] She rode a lady’s saddle …
The opening theme for the 1974 comedy/western movie Blazing Saddles, with lyrics by director Mel Brooks and music by John Morris, was performed by Frankie Laine, who also sang the themes for such western movies as 3:10 to Yuma and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, and the ‘60s TV series Rawhide. Sample lyrics: “He rode a blazing saddle/He wore a shining star/His job to offer battle/To bad men near and far.”
Did I just hear someone say my name in post?
In movie and video production, “post” is short for “post-production”: visual or audio effects or dialogue that are added in the studio after principal filming is done.
Watch out for snakes!
An oft-repeated riff that was first heard, totally out of the blue and from an off-camera voice, in Show 506, Eegah! It became one of the most popular catchphrases of the original MST3K series, and the theme of the 2017 MST3K Live! Watch Out for Snakes! Tour.
[Imitating.] He got you, ma’am!
See above note on Mister Ed.
“Tell the young lady how you happen to be here.” Manifest destiny, sir?
Manifest destiny was the doctrine expounded in the 19th century that the United States had a God-given right to expand all the way across the North American continent; the doctrine, first expressed in 1845, was used to justify a number of instances of territorial aggression, including illegal seizures of land ceded to Native American tribes by treaties and the annexation of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Hawaii, among others.
Let me ask my consigliere.
Consigliere (Italian for “counselor”) is a high-ranking position in the power structure of the Mafia. In the 1969 novel The Godfather, and its 1972 film adaptation, the consigliere is portrayed as a trusted advisor, counselor, and sometimes representative of the boss of a crime family. (In the film, Tom Hagen, played by Robert Duvall, is the Corleones’ consigliere; he’s the man who leaves a prized racehorse’s head in a man’s bed as a message to cooperate with the family.) In actual Mafia crime families, the consigliere is the number-three ranking person, with the boss, underboss, and consigliere forming a panel that leads the family.
[Sung.] And the beast in the hollow with the silver mountain …
“Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk song by Harry Chapin that became his only number-one hit. Sample lyrics: “And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon/Little boy blue and the man in the moon/‘When you coming home, dad?’/‘I don’t know when/But we’ll get together then.’”
Hey Moses, get down here, I gotta talk to you!
Moses was a Jewish prophet who, in the Book of Exodus in the Bible, hears the voice of God in a burning bush on Mount Horeb, commanding him to lead the nation of Israel from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Canaan.
[Sung.] Born beast … as beast as a mountain …
Paraphrased lyrics from the theme song to the 1966 movie Born Free. Composed by John Barry with lyrics by Don Black and sung by Matt Monro, it won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1967. Sample lyrics: “Born free, as free as the wind blows/As free as the grass grows/Born free to follow your heart.”
Ah, thank you, Zyrtec!
Zyrtec is an over-the-counter brand name for cetirizine, an antihistamine used to treat allergies and hay fever.
You can drive stick, right?
Before automatic transmissions in automobiles became ubiquitous, even in sports cars, most cars had a manual transmission, requiring the driver to change gears by using a third pedal with their left foot and operating a gearshift lever, usually located where the standard automatic shift lever is in most cars, between the driver and passenger seats. This lever, and by extension any car that had one, was nicknamed a “stick,” short for “stick shift.”
I’ll call an Uber.
The mobile app-based ridesharing and food delivery service Uber takes its name from the colloquial English term uber, meaning “topmost” or “best,” which derives from the German word über, meaning “above.” Uber was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco, California.
Mexican Walt Disney is pissed.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was an animator and entrepreneur who rose to fame with his eponymous corporation and the many thousands of hours of entertainment that it still churns out, as well as the theme parks that now dot the globe. He sported a tidy mustache.
All this fuss over a horchata stand? I don’t get it.
Horchata is a type of rice milk beverage popular in Spain and Latin America. The most common type found today is made from rice, cinnamon, and vanilla (horchata de arroz), although there are many other varieties, made from ingredients like sesame seeds, jicaro seeds, ground almonds, coconut milk, and more. In restaurants and street food stands, horchata is kept in large glass jars and ladled into glasses for serving. It can be served hot or cold.
[Sung.] I’ve had the Beast of Hollow Mountain …
“(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” was the theme song from the popular 1987 movie Dirty Dancing. Composed by Franke Previte, John DeNicola, and Donald Markowitz and performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, it won multiple awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy. It briefly hit number one in the U.S. Sample lyrics: “Now I’ve had the time of my life/No I never felt like this before/Yes I swear it’s the truth/And I owe it all to you.”
Be sure to check me out on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is a social media website that focuses on professional networking: employers post job openings and job seekers post resumes. It was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.
[Imitating.] Here’s your check, come back any time. Tuesday is Mexican Louis Armstrong impression night.
Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was a legendary American jazz trumpeter, composer, and singer, widely considered one of the most influential figures in jazz music. His distinctive gravelly singing voice graced such hits as “What a Wonderful World” and “Hello, Dolly!” (The latter song hit number one in the U.S. when he was 62 years old, making him the oldest person to achieve that distinction.)
[Imitating.] What’s with all this Kool-Aid? Prepping for the Juans-town massacre, chi-chi?
An imitation of pop-culture-simile-loving comedian Dennis Miller, doing his imitation of Sammy Davis Jr. Kool-Aid is a flavored drink mix that has been popular with kids for decades. Invented by Nebraskan Edwin Perkins in 1927, six flavors were initially available: cherry, grape, lemon-lime, orange, raspberry, and strawberry. In 1953, the brand was sold to General Foods. The name became associated with a tragedy in 1978 when 918 cultists died in Jonestown, Guyana. The phrase “drank the Kool-Aid” has become an idiom meaning that a person has bought into a line of foolish thinking or dogma; in fact most of the victims committed suicide by drinking potassium cyanide mixed with Kool-Aid competitor Flavor Aid (others were injected with poison or shot trying to escape). The mass suicide became known as the “Jonestown Massacre.”
Someone just got front row tickets to ZZ Top.
ZZ Top is a blues-rock trio formed in 1969 in Houston, Texas. Known for their lush, majestic beards as well as their hit songs, which include “Sharp Dressed Man” and “Legs,” they are one of the few major label recording groups to have maintained the same lineup for fifty years. ZZ Top was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and continues to record and perform.
I came here to kick butt and chew bubble gum, and bubble gum hasn’t been invented yet.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1988 action/horror movie They Live, written and directed by John Carpenter and starring professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. The actual line: “I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass … and I’m all out of bubble gum.”
Guest director Sam Raimi.
Sam Raimi is an American director and producer best known for the cult horror Evil Dead film series (beginning in 1981) as well as Sony’s original trilogy of Spider-Man films (beginning in 2002).
Sweep the leg, Johnny!
A famous line from the 1984 film The Karate Kid. In the final match, hero Danny LaRusso has hurt his leg but bravely keeps fighting. His rival and opponent, Johnny Lawrence, is instructed by his evil sensei, John Kreese, to “sweep the leg” and take advantage of his injury. Johnny is horrified but agrees. Nonetheless, Danny wins the match.
They hate these tables! Everybody stay away from these tables!
Riffing on a line from the 1979 Steve Martin comedy The Jerk. The actual line, as a sniper who is attempting to kill Martin keeps missing and instead hitting cans of motor oil, is: “He hates these cans! Stay away from the cans!”
Body blow! Body blow! Uppercut! And he’s down for the count!
An imitation of a typical play-by-play given by the excitable announcer in the original 1983 arcade version of the Nintendo game Punch-Out!!
This is a lot like the time I fought Tommy Karubi. He said he was better at pogs than me, and I begged to differ … with my fists. So I lost and they kicked me out of school.
Pogs, also known as milk caps, is a children’s game with origins in 17th-century Japan that spiked in popularity in the mid-1990s. The game uses round playing pieces, such as milk bottle caps or the caps from POG juice bottles (hence the name), which players “slam” in an attempt to flip them over, sometimes “for keeps.” The 1990s versions were often decorated with pop culture images, making them instant collectibles. The fad only lasted a few years.
Aw, he crushed Waldo.
Where’s Waldo? is a series of children’s picture books sold in North America (he’s called Wally in the rest of the world) that ask the reader to find Waldo, a fellow clad in a striped shirt, hat, and glasses, among an enormous crowd of people.
My Etsy products!
Etsy is an ecommerce website launched in 2005 that connects buyers with artisans who create handcrafted items like jewelry, art, clothing, bath and beauty products, toys, etc.
[Sung.] It’s the eye of the beast … it’s the thrill of the mountain …
“Eye of the Tiger” is a 1982 song by American rock band Survivor, written at the request of Sylvester Stallone as the theme for the movie Rocky III, after British rock band Queen denied him the rights to use their 1980 song “Another One Bites the Dust.” “Eye of the Tiger” topped the charts for six weeks and won a Grammy Award. Sample lyrics: “It’s the eye of the tiger/It’s the thrill of the fight/Rising up to the challenge of our rival.”
[Imitating.] Put ‘em up, put ‘em up!
An imitation of the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, from the scene in which he first encounters Dorothy and her other companions and feigns bravado, challenging them to a fistfight.
World champion gymnast Kurt Thomas made the wonderfully bad movie Gymkata in 1985, in which he defeats the bad guys with the help of randomly placed gymnastics equipment. “Gymkata!” became an MST3K catchphrase, usually associated with a movie’s attempt to portray martial arts, as a kind of alternative to “Hi-keeba!”
Yoga break! Downward dog. Back to the fight.
Yoga is an umbrella term for a collection of mental, spiritual, and physical disciplines with origins in 5th century India. Downward dog is a popular yoga pose in which your body assumes an inverted V shape, with your hands and feet on the floor and your butt up in the air.
For the last time … Coldplay! Isn’t! That! Bad!
Coldplay is a British rock band formed at University College London in 1996 that has gone on to sell over 90 million albums and win multiple Grammy Awards, Brit Awards, and MTV Music Video Awards. Nonetheless, those that dislike them tend to dislike them intensely, and those that do like them tend to defend them earnestly.
If that vase had hit him, he’d be “Clay Ache-in.”
Clay Aiken shot to fame in 2003 when he came in second place in the TV reality show/singing competition American Idol (Fox, 2002-2016). He went on to release six successful albums, tour extensively, and dabble in acting, activism, and politics.
More like Coyote Clumsy.
The Coyote Ugly Saloon is a bar in New York City that opened in 1993, known for its attractive female bartenders. It became famous in 1997 after Elizabeth Gilbert (later the author of Eat Pray Love) wrote an article for GQ about her experiences working as a bartender there. The article was the basis for a 2000 film, called Coyote Ugly, that starred Piper Perabo and Adam Garcia. Although critically reviled, the film became a cult hit, ultimately grossing more than $300 million. There are now more than 20 Coyote Ugly locations around the world, and it was the subject of a reality TV show on CMT (The Ultimate Coyote Ugly Search, 2006-2008) that starred the saloon’s founder, Liliana Lovell.
Yeah, they’re lining up to buy the new “Ay, ay, ay” phone.
“Cielito Lindo” is a popular Mexican folk song written around 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortés Cortez. A standard for mariachi bands, the song is sometimes just called the “Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay Song.” Sample lyrics: “Ay, ay, ay, ay/Canta y no llores/Porque cantando se alegran/Cielito lindo, los corazones. (Ay, ay, ay, ay/Sing and don’t cry/Heavenly one, for singing/Gladdens hearts).” “Cielito Lindo” was appropriated for the Frito Bandito ad campaign for Frito corn chips in 1967; complaints about negative stereotyping of Mexicans led to that character being retired in 1971. Apple released its first-generation iPhone smartphone on June 29, 2007. The many new hardware iterations that have been released since have caused people to line up at Apple Stores to buy them, and have led to criticism that the upgrades are unnecessary money-grabs.
A bloodied Luke Perry.
Luke Perry (1966-2019) was an American actor who rose to fame playing brooding hunky loner Dylan McKay in the ‘90s TV series Beverly Hills 90210 (Fox, 1990-2000). He became known to a new generation of teens as Archie Andrews’ father Fred on the CW series Riverdale (2017-present). He died following a massive stroke at age 52.
Who’s got two thumbs and can hold a telegram? This guy … Madison.
The meme “Who’s got two thumbs and can [fill in the blank]? This guy!” was made popular by Dr. Bob Kelso on the syndicated TV sitcom Scrubs (2001-2010), but a very similar joke appeared decades earlier on Happy Days (1974-1984), spoken by that arbiter of cool, Fonzie (Henry Winkler): “Who’s cool and has two thumbs? This guy!”
He wants to start a podcast with you.
The term “podcast,” to indicate downloadable audio or video content meant to be stored and played back on a computer or portable media player, is a mashup of “iPod” and “broadcast.” It was coined by BBC journalist Ben Hammersley in 2004, and actually predated the iPod specifically supporting podcasts or Apple’s iTunes store having podcasts available; users would simply download podcasts and add them to their iPod as if they were a song. MST3K host Jonah Ray has hosted a couple of podcasts, including Jonah Raydio and The Nerdist Podcast, which he co-hosted with Chris Hardwick.
“He wants to buy your ranch.” He has reason to believe there’s a rich vein of dressing underneath.
Ranch salad dressing—a mix of buttermilk (yogurt or sour cream works too), herbs, and spices—was developed by Steve Henson in the early 1950s, who later served it to guests at his Southern California dude ranch, Hidden Valley Ranch. He then founded Hidden Valley Ranch Food Products and started making it for the masses. The best-selling salad dressing in the United States since 1992, and popular in Canada as well, ranch dressing is virtually unknown in other countries.
“It will not be pleasant for you.” Have you seen Mean Girls? It’ll be like that.
Mean Girls is a 2004 coming-of-age comedy film about the harsh, backstabbing politics of high school cliques. Starring Lindsay Lohan, it co-stars and was written by former Saturday Night Live head writer and 30 Rock creator and star Tina Fey. It became a cult favorite and was turned into a successful Broadway musical in 2018, also co-written by Fey.
Jeff Goldblum says we keep the ranch.
Jeff Goldblum is a tall, lanky American actor whose career has spanned more than 40 years of cult favorites such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984), as well as big-budget blockbusters such as Jurassic Park (1993) and Thor: Ragnarok (2017).
Boy, he left in a hurry. Must be a sale at Marshalls.
Marshalls is an American department store chain that sells designer goods, usually surplus items, at significantly lower prices than other stores. There are more than 1,175 Marshalls locations in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
“I can’t bear the thought of …” Haggis. Ugh.
A traditional Scottish dish, haggis is a kind of savory pudding consisting of the heart, liver, and lungs of a sheep, minced with onion, oatmeal, spices, and suet, poured into the sheep’s stomach, and boiled for several hours. It is traditionally served with a “dram” (large glass) of Scotch whisky, for obvious reasons.
I’ve got carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel is an open space in the wrist surrounded by the wrist bones and the transverse carpal ligament. A number of tendons and the median nerve travel through this tunnel. When overused, these tendons can swell and put pressure on the nerve, creating a numb, tingling sensation in the hand; this is known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory drugs, immobilization of the wrist, and in the worst cases, surgery.
[Sung.] You know I been through the desert on a beast with no mountain …
The 1972 song “A Horse with No Name” by the folk-pop band America contains the lyrics “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name/It felt good to be out of the rain/In the desert you can remember your name/Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain …” Songwriter Dewey Bunnell has said the imagery came from his childhood experiences in the New Mexico and Nevada deserts, but some U.S. radio stations banned the song due to the widespread belief that the “horse” in the song referred to heroin. The song has been parodied and ridiculed for its oddly phrased lyrics. Penn Jillette says he asked the band about it when they performed together in Atlantic City, and was told they were high on pot when they wrote the song, although band member Gerry Beckley has disputed this claim.
So it’s kind of a fixer-upper, not much curb appeal, and truth be told, it’s dangerously haunted.
“Fixer-upper” and “curb appeal” are popular euphemisms in the lexicon of real estate agents: “fixer-upper” is fairly self-explanatory, while “curb appeal” denotes how attractive a property looks from the street, without the benefit of a closer inspection.
Hello? Yellow King? Buffalo Bill? Jigsaw? Think we’re clear.
The Yellow King was the ringleader of a homicidal, sex-abusing cult in Season 1 of HBO’s crime drama series True Detective (2014-present). (The season was based on The King in Yellow, a book of short stories by Robert W. Chambers, several of which feature a malevolent, supernatural entity by that name.) Buffalo Bill was the nickname for the serial killer Jame Gumb (Ted Levine) in the Academy Award-harvesting 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. Jigsaw, or the Jigsaw Killer, is the main bad guy in the Saw horror film franchise, which began in 2004 and encompasses eight films to date, the last of which is simply titled Jigsaw (2017).
[Imitating Mister Ed.] Hey, ask for Flicka.
See above note on Mister Ed. My Friend Flicka is a 1941 novel by Mary O’Hara, the first in a trilogy, about a young boy and his horse. A 1942 film version starring a young Roddy McDowall was also followed by two sequels. Those were followed by a TV series that aired on all three major networks at one time or another between 1956 and 1966.
I set up the bouncy house.
A bouncy house is a large inflatable children’s play structure that is a common sight at the kiddie rides section of state and county fairs and can be rented for birthday parties, etc.
“A loan from the bank.” Subprime. Real good stuff.
Subprime mortgages are mortgages issued to homebuyers with less than ideal credit. Generally they require a higher down payment and higher interest rates. However, in the early 2000s there was a housing bubble, and banks and other mortgage lenders were offering subprime loans to people who simply were not qualified for them. Then they would do complex financial shenanigans with the subprime loans, bundling them into highly rated securities to conceal their shakiness and sell them to investors. In 2007-2008, the housing bubble burst, and the entire house of cards fell, leading to millions of foreclosures and the Great Recession.
Wow, Machu Picchu! –Machu Picchu is in Peru. –Huh. So they filmed this movie in Peru?
Machu Picchu is an icon of Inca civilization, a citadel on a mountain ridge nearly 8,000 feet above sea level in the Cusco Region of Peru. It is believed to have been built as an estate for the Incan emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century.
She’s shopping at Forever 1821.
Forever 21 is an American women and girl’s clothing retailer that also sells accessories, home goods, and beauty products. In 2019 the company declared bankruptcy and closed hundreds of stores around the world, including 178 in the U.S., as part of its reorganization.
Young Betty Crocker on her semester abroad.
Betty Crocker is the brand name developed by home economist Marjorie Husted in 1921 for the Washburn Crosby Company (later General Mills), embodied by a fictional housewife whose portrait was first commissioned in 1936 and has been revised many times over the decades since then. The brand has become a standard for baked goods. The Betty Crocker test kitchens, located in General Mills HQ in Golden Valley, Minnesota, are world famous.
“Last time we were seen together …” It turned into a SummerSlam.
SummerSlam is an annual pay-per-view professional wrestling event, produced by the WWE. The first SummerSlam took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1988 and featured such wrestlers as Hulk Hogan, Macho Man Randy Savage, and André the Giant.
And a very sensual adios to you, Jimmy Jam, my jam man.
James “Jimmy Jam” Harris is an American songwriter and record producer who, with his partner Terry Lewis, has written 41 top ten hit songs in the U.S. (31 in the U.K.). The pair are best known for their work with Janet Jackson in the 1980s (which included “Nasty,” “When I Think of You,” and “What Have You Done for Me Lately”).
Mexican Adrien Brody?
Adrien Brody is an American actor who won an Academy Award for playing the title role in The Pianist (2002). At age 29, he was the youngest person to ever win a Best Actor Oscar. He has also worked numerous times with director Wes Anderson, appearing in (among others) Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
Hmm. Seems like a lot of Chipwiches.
A Chipwich is an ice cream treat: ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies, with the exposed ice cream in the middle also rolled in chocolate chips. Developed by entrepreneurs Richard LaMotta and Sam Metzger in 1978, they were first sold from food carts in New York City. In 2007 the brand was acquired by Nestlé, who discontinued them a few years later, apparently because they competed with their own Tollhouse ice cream sandwich. The Chipwich was reintroduced in 2018.
[Sung.] Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married …
“Chapel of Love” is a pop song written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector that was a number one hit (and their only hit) for The Dixie Cups in 1964. Sample lyrics: “Goin’ to the chapel and we’re gonna get married/Gee, I really love you/And we’re gonna get married/Goin’ to the chapel of love.”
BoJack Horseman (Netflix, 2014-2020) is an animated TV series created by Raphael Bob-Waksberg, with Will Arnett voicing the lead character. It is set in an alternate-universe Hollywood where people and talking animals live together; BoJack (a horse) is a has-been former sitcom star. Though a comedy, the show is known for dealing realistically with such issues as depression, addiction, celebrity, and racism.
Okay! [Sung.] Oh, say can you see, by the dawn, doo-doo-doo …
See above note on “Star-Spangled Banner.”
Skulking wear by Marc Jacobs. Just because you don’t want to be seen doesn’t mean you can’t look good.
Marc Jacobs is an American fashion designer with his own label and more than 200 retail stores worldwide selling clothes, kid’s clothes, bags, accessories, watches, and beauty products.
Pretty sad excuse for a Cinco de Mayo parade.
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for “Fifth of May”) is an annual celebration commemorating the Mexican army’s May 5, 1862 victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla. In Mexico, it is a relatively minor holiday compared to their Independence Day celebrations, held on September 16. In the U.S., however, Cinco de Mayo is often mistaken for Mexico’s Independence Day, and has grown in popularity, becoming an alcohol and parade-infused celebration similar to St. Patrick’s Day, which is itself a relatively minor holiday in its native Ireland.
[Imitating Elmer Fudd.] Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting booze. Heh-heh.
Elmer Fudd is a hunter usually pitted against Bugs Bunny in Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes cartoons. He has a very characteristic speech impediment; one of his most imitated lines was “Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits. Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh.” He first appeared in 1940’s Elmer’s Candid Camera and was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan from 1940 to 1959. After Bryan’s death, he was voiced by Hal Smith, Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, Greg Burson, and Billy West, among others.
Another case where the shushing’s louder than the original noise. #notallshush.
In the mid-2010s, the satiric hashtag #notallmen began to be used online by people who objected to men derailing the topic of conversation (discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, toxic masculinity, etc.) by saying, “Hey, not all men do _________.”
Oh, look, he sent in the box tops for the Winnie-the-Pooh honey jar mug.
In the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, promotions mostly aimed at children required them to mail in box tops from cereal boxes (as proof of purchase, often with a nominal amount of money) in exchange for an item, usually a toy. Winnie-the-Pooh is a small anthropomorphic stuffed bear, the best friend of Christopher Robin in the 1920s children’s books written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. He was named after a toy owned by Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne. He also appeared in a series of Disney films based on the books. In the books and films, Pooh has a large pot in which he keeps honey, which he has labeled “HUNNY.”
I’m a secret ninja.
Secret Ninja is a 1982 kung-fu movie starring Dragon Lee.
Letter delivered by Ponyboy Express. It just says “Stay gold.”
The Pony Express (official name: Central Overland California and Pikes Peak Express Company) was a mail delivery service that used a relayed series of horses and riders to deliver mail from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts in about 10 days. Before the introduction of the telegraph, the Pony Express played a key role in connecting the new state of California with the rest of the United States. It operated for only about 19 months, from April 1860 to October 1861. “Stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold” is a line from the 1967 coming-of-age novel The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, and its 1983 film adaptation, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Oh man, I gotta drop some beasts off at the pool.
“Drop the kids off at the pool” is a euphemism for defecation.
[Whistled: “The Fishin’ Hole (Theme from The Andy Griffith Show).”]
The whistled theme song to the 1960s TV classic The Andy Griffith Show was titled “The Fishin’ Hole.” It was written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer; Hagen also provided the whistling.
Oof, you gotta lay off the Lunchables.
Lunchables is a brand of prepackaged, vacuum-sealed “lunches” aimed at children, consisting of lunchmeats, cheese, and crackers. They are made by Kraft Heinz and sold under the Oscar Mayer brand. Armour has a competing product called LunchMakers. In the late 1990s they were targeted as unhealthy for their sky-high sodium content (nearly ¾ the daily RDA for an adult).
Papa, I thought you said we were going to the Chuck E. Cheese. –It’s not Chuck E. Cheese, but there are mice here.
Chuck E. Cheese’s is a chain of family restaurants combining pizza, video games, and animatronic animals “playing instruments.” It is a favorite location for elementary school birthday parties. The chain was founded in 1977 by Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell. The chain’s namesake mascot is ostensibly a mouse, although the name “Rick Rat’s Pizza” was briefly considered. Very briefly. Due to the COVID pandemic, the chain declared bankruptcy in 2020.
Your Great Aunt Rose says we need to spend a night in this house to inherit her fortune.
The “spend a night in a haunted house to inherit” codicil is a popular trope in animation. Scooby-Doo went to that well a couple of times, as did The Flintstones and The Simpsons (although they lampshaded it).
The story of Abraham and Isaac as you’ve never seen it told before. Gritty. Real. Relevant.
The Book of Genesis (Genesis 22:1-14) in the Bible relates a tale in which God demands that Abraham sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham prepares to follow through, and only stops when an angel intercedes at the last moment and tells him that it was merely a test of his faith.
“Papa!” Don’t preach.
“Papa Don’t Preach” is a 1986 song by Madonna from her True Blue album. Hard as it is to believe now, the song caused some controversy on the grounds that it endorsed teen pregnancy. It was her fourth number one hit. Sample lyrics: “Papa don’t preach, I’m in trouble deep/Papa don’t preach, I’ve been losing sleep/But I made up my mind, I’m keeping my baby …”
If I die, turn my pants into a circus tent. Not one of those snooty Cirque shows. A real Mexican circus with werewolf children.
Cirque du Soleil (French for “Circus of the Sun”) is a Canadian circus entertainment company and the largest theatrical producer in the world: at any given time there are nearly a dozen touring Cirque du Soleil shows in cities around the world, with permanent shows in Mexico, Florida, and Las Vegas (Vegas alone has seven different shows). Cirque du Soleil is famous for its animal-free approach to traditional circus arts, emphasizing character-driven acrobatics, juggling, trapeze, dance, costuming, and music. Jesús “Chuy” Aceves is a Mexican citizen with a rare condition known as hypertrichosis, which causes thick black hair to grow on the face, making him resemble the “wolfman” of film lore. His two daughters also have the condition. Though in the past he has shaved to hold down “regular” jobs, none were as lucrative as working in circuses and sideshows. Aceves was the subject of a 2005 documentary, It’s Not Easy Being a Wolf Boy.
Better go change my Facebook status to “orphan.”
Social networking behemoth Facebook was originally limited to founder Mark Zuckerberg’s fellow Harvard University students; the name comes from the directories given to university students, called “face books.” People often refer to their posts on Facebook as “status updates” or simply their “status.” This could also be a reference to the “relationship status” that appears in your FB Profile; the question of when to change it has become a new source of romantic angst.
Time for Panchito to booby-trap the house in case the Wet Bandits show up.
The 1990 comedy movie Home Alone features Macaulay Culkin as eight-year-old Kevin, mistakenly left behind as his family heads out for a Christmas vacation overseas. Fending for himself in his large suburban home, Kevin must thwart would-be burglars “The Wet Bandits” (played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern), so called because they leave water running in the houses they rob. He does this by setting a series of elaborate booby traps throughout the house. Slapstick ensues. The movie grossed $477 million worldwide, on a budget of $18 million. Two film sequels and two TV movie sequels rapidly followed.
[Menacing voice.] Get out!
The 1979 horror film The Amityville Horror features a house haunted by very aggressive and violent supernatural forces, who loudly hiss the helpful advice “Get out!” One of the movie’s taglines was “For God’s sake, get out!”
Rad, they got the Blue Öyster Cult symbol in the movie.
Blue Öyster Cult is an American hard rock band formed in 1967, best known for their 1976 hit “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” A hook-and-cross logo similar to the alchemical symbol for lead (a heavy metal—get it?) has appeared on all their albums.
I’m turning this off. –You can’t, we tried that. –Yeah, we’re made out of those special parts.
References, of course, to MST3K origin story canon, as detailed in various versions of the opening “Love Theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000.” KTMA era: “Now keep in mind he can’t control/When the movies begin or end/Because he used the extra parts/To make his robot friends.” Episodes 101-512: “Now keep in mind Joel can’t control/Where the movies begin or end (la-la-la)/Because he used those special parts/To make his robot friends.” Episodes 513-1013: “Now keep in mind Mike can’t control/Where the movies begin or end (la-la-la)/He’ll try to keep his sanity/With the help of his robot friends.” Episodes 1101-1114: “Now keep in mind that Jonah can’t control (ooh ooh ooooh)/Where the movies begin or end (la la la)/So he’ll have to keep his sanity/With the help of his robot friends.”
I didn’t realize I’d killed so many people over the years. I guess it’s like Pringles—once you pop, you can’t stop.
Pringles are a brand of potato chips manufactured by Procter & Gamble and introduced in 1967. Unlike other chips, which involve slices of actual potatoes and come in bags, Pringles are machine-made: hyperbolic paraboloids made of compressed potato residue and wheat starch, sold neatly stacked in cylindrical cardboard tubes. “Once you pop, you can’t stop” was their original slogan, and it is still used today, along with the variation “Once you pop, the fun don’t stop.”
“A date in a graveyard makes a guy wonder.” Unless it’s Tim Burton.
Tim Burton is an American film director and animator known for such quirky, darkly humorous and gothic films as Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), as well as slightly more mainstream fare such as Ed Wood (1994) and Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985). Several of his films—Beetlejuice (1988), The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), and Corpse Bride (2005), to name a few—are steeped in graveyard imagery.
They’re coming to get you, Barb—I mean Sarita.
The 1968 horror film Night of the Living Dead, which introduced the modern cinematic concept of zombies, opens with Ben and Barbra, an adult brother and sister, visiting their father’s grave in a rural cemetery. When Barbra grows uneasy, Ben teases her, saying, “They’re coming to get you, Barbra.” And is almost immediately killed by zombies.
[Muffled.] I mind! Get this gringo off me.
In Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries, the term “gringo” (or “gringa” for women) is most commonly used as a disparaging term for foreigners, particularly Americans. The term came from Spain, where it referred to a non-native Spanish speaker, and its origins are a variant of the word “griego,” meaning Greek speech—as in “it’s Greek to me.”
“Will you answer me one question?” Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?
“Who Let the Dogs Out?” is a song written by Anslem Douglas and performed by Bahamian group Baha Men; it was a top ten hit in the U.K. and a Top 40 hit in the United States in 2000, and won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording in 2001. Sample lyrics: “Who let the dogs out? (Who, who, who, who?!)/Who let the dogs out? (Who, who, who, who?!)”
“… you’ve had so much trouble.” Right here in River City.
A line from the song “Ya Got Trouble,” from the 1957 musical The Music Man and its 1962 film adaptation, written by Meredith Willson. Sample lyrics: “Trouble, oh we got trouble/Right here in River City!/With a capital “T”/That rhymes with “P”/And that stands for Pool.”
“There’s only one way this can end.” With your princess in another castle.
In the video game Super Mario Bros., just before the player reaches the final castle level, a rescued toad says, “Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle!”
Honey, I shrunk the Pancho.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 family comedy film starring Rick Moranis as a bumbling inventor whose homemade shrink ray accidentally reduces his three children to less than an inch tall. Hijinks ensue. It was a surprise box office hit and was followed by two sequels and a TV series.
I know I left a case of Tecate here somewhere.
Tecate is a brand of Mexican beer, made by Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery, which is owned by Heineken International. It is named after the border town of Tecate in Baja California.
Homeward Bound 3: Pancho’s Journey.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 remake of the 1963 Disney live-action movie The Incredible Journey, about two dogs and a cat who traverse 250 miles of wilderness to return home. The films were based on a 1961 children’s book by Sheila Burnford. The original featured narration from Disney’s go-to voice guy of that era, Rex Allen (Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar (1967), Charlotte’s Web (1973)), while the remake featured the voices of Don Ameche, Sally Field, and Michael J. Fox narrating the thoughts and conversations of the animals themselves. Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco came out in 1996.
The music’s gotten very Peter and the Wolf all of a sudden.
Peter and the Wolf is a 1936 musical composition for children by Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), in which a narrator tells a story backed by an orchestra. In the story, Peter encounters a forest wolf that has eaten his duck friend; against his grandfather’s advice, he tricks the wolf and captures it in a trap. The piece is famous for its use of different instrumental leitmotifs for each character; the strings represent Peter, for instance, while the French horns play the Wolf.
Señor Dorf goes fishing.
Actor Tim Conway (1933-2019), known for his comic turns on such television series as McHale’s Navy (ABC, 1962-1966) and The Carol Burnett Show (CBS, 1967-1978), produced a series of eight mock instructional videos in which he stars as a dim and diminutive Scandinavian named Derkus Dorf. The videos flog a single sight gag: Conway is standing in a hole up to his knees, with shoes attached at ground level, making it seem he is only about four feet tall. Titles include Dorf on Golf (1987) and Dorf Goes Fishing (1993).
You know, the obstacle course for Mexico’s version of Ninja Warrior is not at all impressive.
The Ninja Warriors is a 1987 “beat ‘em up” video game released for multiple platforms by Japanese game developer Taito. It inspired a remake, The Ninja Warriors Again, released in 1994 for the Super NES.
Horatio Sanz is The Fugitive.
Horatio Sanz is a comedian and actor best known for his 1998-2006 run on Saturday Night Live. The Fugitive is a TV series that aired from 1963-1967. It starred David Janssen (1931-1980) as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man unjustly convicted of murdering his wife and forced to flee the police while striving to prove his innocence and hunt down the real killer—the mysterious “one-armed man.” The series finale was the most watched television episode in history at that time, with 46 percent of all TV-owning households tuned in. A 1993 film adaptation starred Harrison Ford.
Pancho looks like if Teddy Roosevelt had a kid with Droopy.
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the 26th president of the United States, from 1901-1909. Droopy Dog is a cartoon basset hound with drooping jowls (get it?) and a slow, deadpan delivery who appeared in 24 MGM theatrical shorts between 1943 and 1958, and in various other cartoons and later reboots. Droopy was modeled on Wallace Wimple, a character on the popular radio show Fibber McGee and Molly. Actor Bill Thompson supplied the voice for both Wimple and Droopy.
I feel a disturbance in the Force. As if a drunk voice screamed out and was suddenly silenced.
Alec Guinness as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope (1977) utters this often-parodied line after the Death Star destroys Alderaan: “I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.”
This is Regiscope.
See above note.
How could I now, Jabberjaw?
Jabberjaw was a children’s animated TV series about a great white shark who plays drums in a rock band; it aired from 1976-1978.
Now Kentucky Fried Chicken’s just KFC.
The Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants, established in 1952, changed their name to simply KFC in 1991, in an effort to distance themselves from the health concerns surrounding fried foods.
Meanwhile, on the set of F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans …
Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888-1931) was a German silent film director, best known for Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, his 1922 adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) was the first film he made after moving to Hollywood. The movie had synchronized music and sound effects, but no dialogue. At the first ever Academy Awards ceremony in 1929, it won the award for Unique and Artistic Picture.
You can still smell the Long Island Iced Tea.
Long Island Iced Tea is a very alcoholic beverage made with vodka, gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, sour mix, and cola. It looks and tastes remarkably like iced tea, hence the name. The drink’s minute quantity of mixer vs. its high volume of distilled spirits gives it a deceptively high alcohol level of approximately 22 percent.
ABC Family presents Three Horses and a Little Boy. –Can three swinging bachelor horses raise little Panchito? Neigh! This fall on ABC Family.
ABC Family was a cable and satellite network born when Disney bought the Fox Family Worldwide network in 2001 and cobranded it with the ABC TV network, which Disney already owned. Focusing on family-friendly sitcoms (and, later, teen dramas), ABC Family continued until 2016, when it was rebranded as Freeform, with a focus on millennials; shows included Shadowhunters and Cloak and Dagger. Three Men and a Baby is a 1987 hit comedy about three bachelor roommates (Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg, and Tom Selleck) who find a baby on their doorstep, supposedly the product of one of their loins. It was directed by Leonard “Spock” Nimoy and based on a 1985 French film. In 1990, a poorly received sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady, was released.
[Sung.] We’ll never see … the Beast of Hollow Mountain …
See above note on “Beast of Burden.”
We join the film’s wrap party already in progress.
Showbiz jargon: a “wrap party” is a celebration held at the end of a stage play’s run or after filming for a movie has finished. “We now join _______ already in progress” is a standard statement used by TV networks when sports games (or other special events) run long. Rather than starting the next show late and screwing their entire schedule, they start it in medias res. The policy was adopted in 1968 after an infamous football game known as the Heidi Game, when NBC cut away from a Jets-Raiders match to start the movie Heidi on time. Unfortunately for the network, Oakland scored two touchdowns in the last minute to win the game, and angry viewers flooded NBC with calls. The network formally apologized and decided on the new system.
Buster Keaton was into drag?
Buster Keaton (1895-1966) was a much-venerated star of silent films and is widely considered one of the best screen comedians of all time. He is known for such film classics as The General and Go West. Keaton dressed in drag in more than one film, including Back Stage (1919) and The Playhouse (1921).
Oooh, I’m puttin’ that in Wikipedia right now.
The free, user-edited online encyclopedia Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and has become the largest general reference website on the Internet.
So, heard your dad got it. Tough break, kid. Well, I found these tortillas and whatever this is, I don’t know, I guess it’s like a lime horchata?
See above note on horchatas.
[Sung.] Cheer up, Carlos …
“Cheer Up, Charlie” is a song from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, sung by Charlie’s mother, Mrs. Bucket (Diana Sowle). Sample lyrics: “Cheer up, Charlie/Give me a smile/What happened to the smile I used to know …”
Hey, why the long face? Oh, right.
A reference to an old, old joke: A horse walks into a bar, and the bartender says, “Hey, buddy, why the long face?”
Let’s play with Julio down by the schoolyard.
“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” is a 1972 song by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. When it became a Top 40 hit, its somewhat obscure lyrics invited speculation as to their meaning, which Simon never confirmed. A sample: “Seein’ me and Julio/Down by the schoolyard/Whoa, in a couple days they come and take me away/But the press let the story leak/And when the radical priest/Come to get me released/We was all on the cover of Newsweek.”
[Imitating.] Snatch my purse! I don’t know you!
An imitation of Bobby Hill from the animated TV series King of the Hill (Fox, 1997-2010), and a line he delivers in the sixth season episode “Bobby Goes Nuts.” In the episode, after Bobby is bullied, his dad Hank enrolls him in a self-defense class, but Bobby is placed in a class for women, where he learns how to defend himself against purse snatchers by kicking men in the groin.
You’ve named me, and so you have power over me. What is thy bidding?
In many different folklore traditions, knowing the true name of someone (or something) gives you power over them. Consider the fairy tale of “Rumpelstiltskin,” where the heroine defeats the imp and is able to keep her child by learning his name. Or in the Odyssey, Odysseus initially conceals his name from the giant Polyphemus, instead claiming his name is “Nobody.” When he does finally tell the giant his real name, the giant calls on his father Poseidon to seek revenge on Odysseus—which the god does. Quite thoroughly.
Panchito sounds like a Cheeto that’s been fried with extra cheese and special Mexican spices. Very crave-able.
Cheetos are a brand of cheese-flavored snacks manufactured by Frito-Lay and first made in 1948. The extruded corn and fluorescent cheesy goodness is currently sold in more than 36 countries, with variations to match regional tastes, such as Pepsi-flavored Cheetos in Japan and Peanut Cheetos in Hungary. In Mexico, they sell Cheetos Torciditos, similar to the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in the U.S., but somewhat spicier.
He’s like the Robin to my Batman.
Batman is one of the world’s most famous superheroes, created in 1939 by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. Batman’s secret identity is millionaire (later billionaire) Bruce Wayne, whose parents were killed in a robbery when he was a boy. He trained and studied for years and later adopted the bat motif to strike terror into the hearts of criminals so that he might avenge his parents’ murders upon all evildoers. He first appeared in Detective Comics #27 and has since appeared in multiple films, TV series, animated series, and so on. Batman’s young sidekick Robin was introduced in 1940, as a counterpart similar to Sherlock Holmes’s Watson, someone Batman could talk to and roll out exposition.
The cartoon Tom Slick, along with Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle, was a regular segment on the animated TV show Rocky and His Friends, later called The Bullwinkle Show (ABC/NBC, 1959-1964). Tom Slick was an auto racer, and a recurring gag had the announcer/narrator declaring, “And the crowd goes wild!” followed by a shot of a very lackluster crowd giving a half-hearted, “Yay.”
Look, Jonah, chemtrails. What more evidence do you need? There’s no Beast of Hollow Mountain, they just think there is because of the barium in the air.
The chemtrail conspiracy theory holds that the trails of water vapor (a.k.a. contrails) left behind high-flying jet aircraft are actually chemical or biological agents that are being sprayed on the population for some dark, sinister reason. Barium is in fact a popular choice in these scenarios; others include thorium and silicon carbide.
It’s Mexican Chinese New Year!
The Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, begins with the first new moon between January 21 and February 20. It is an important celebration in China, with many colorful parades. Mexico celebrates the New Year on January 1.
This is either a sacred sacrificial rite for a funeral or they’re just opening up a new Chili’s.
Chili’s Grill & Bar is a chain of casual dining restaurants with an American Southwest theme, offering fajitas, ribs, burgers, etc. Founded in Texas in 1975, the chain has about 1,600 locations worldwide.
I see what’s happening here. Chaotic ethnic parade, bad guy enters—time for a kick-ass Indiana Jones-style action sequence. Buckle up, boys. All this waiting is finally gonna pay off!
The Indiana Jones film series, starring Harrison Ford as the action-adventure-prone archeologist, began in 1981 with Raiders of the Lost Ark and was followed by three more films, all directed by Steven Spielberg. They are known for their extended action sequences.
No, no, this is like a Bond movie. Jimmy’s in one of those costumes, he’s gonna get on a jet-ski and chase after Enrique. –I think we’re about as far away from a Bond movie as we can get right now, Tom.
The James Bond spy-film franchise began in 1962 with Dr. No, and has encompassed 25 movies as of 2021 (plus a couple of films by other studios). The 2015 Bond film Spectre, with Daniel Craig playing Bond, begins with an elaborate action sequence set at a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration and parade, with both Bond and various bad guys initially wearing costumes. The 1977 Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, with Roger Moore as Bond, features him riding an early version of a jet-ski, called a “Wet Bike.”
And so, mission accomplished for Improv Everywhere, with its ability to playfully engage bystanders to lighten their day with the illuminating powers of improv. Off they go, to charm more unsuspecting innocent people.
Improv Everywhere is a New York City-based performance art group, with the slogan “We cause scenes.” They carry out pranks, or “missions,” as they call them, in public places, similar to flash mob events, with the goal of creating “chaos and joy.” One of their better-known “missions” took place in 2008 and involved more than 200 Improv Everywhere agents freezing in place for five minutes in NYC’s busy Grand Central Terminal.
Why I oughta …
A standard line from The Three Stooges comedy shorts, generally spoken by Moe as he threatened one or both of the other two Stooges. The Three Stooges began in 1922 and made 190 film shorts that became TV staples starting in the late 1950s.
Let me guess, ice bucket challenge.
The ice bucket challenge is a fundraising and awareness-raising activity for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), in which a person dumps a bucket of ice water over their head, or has someone else pour it over them, and then posts a video of it on social media. Participants nominate others, who in turn nominate more people to take the challenge; each participant in theory makes a donation to support ALS research. It went viral, peaking during the summer of 2014, and has made a minor comeback every summer since.
I can’t believe I have to marry Prince Humperdinck. Wait, what movie is this?
A key plot point in the 1987 fantasy/romance/comedy film The Princess Bride (based on the 1973 novel by William Goldman) involves Princess Buttercup (played by Robin Wright) being forced to marry the ruthless and corrupt Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon).
Panchito’s a total baller, man.
The slang term “baller” originally meant someone who escaped poverty to strike it rich in professional sports. In recent years it has expanded to encompass anyone who is living a large, extravagant lifestyle.
[Sung to the tune of “Blazing Saddles Signature/Main Title.”] He rode a tiny saddle …
See above note.
Panchito, no! Oh, Game of Thrones is on.
Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-2019) is a fantasy/drama TV series based on a series of novels by George R.R. Martin. During its run it was wildly popular “appointment television.”
“Your wedding dress. Aren’t you going to put it on?” Say yes to it.
Say Yes to the Dress (TLC, 2007-present) is a reality show franchise centered around brides-to-be finding the perfect wedding dress. The original show is set in Kleinfeld Bridal in Manhattan; spinoff shows have been set in Atlanta, Australia, Ireland, and elsewhere.
Someday Walt Disney will make a roller coaster out of this mountain.
Space Mountain is the name of Disney theme parks’ popular space-themed indoor roller coasters, housed in conical buildings that are a landmark of the parks; the first opened at Walt Disney World in 1975. Some were retooled as “Hyperspace Mountain” after Disney bought Star Wars in 2012. All Disney parks except Disneyland Shanghai have some version of Space Mountain attractions. Shanghai instead got a ride based on Tron, where visitors ride hunched over on “lightcycles” at 60 mph; it has been such a hit that Disney is adding the ride to its Florida park.
Come down, come down, to Hollow Mountain Cows. We’ve got black cows, brown cows, spotted cows, little cows, big cows. Financing is available, I’ll stand on my head to make a deal.
Riffing on Southern California auto dealer Cal Worthington (1920-2013), who was famous on the West Coast (and, thanks to parodies, elsewhere in the U.S.) for his absurdly energetic TV and radio commercials, in which he would promise to “eat a bug” or “stand upon my head until my ears are turning red” to make a deal. The ads always began with “Here’s Cal Worthington and his dog Spot”—“Spot” was never a dog, but some kind of wild animal on a leash, or a large animal (such as a hippopotamus) that Worthington would ride.
Big Bird is a character on the classic children’s television show Sesame Street, which has aired on PBS since 1969 (and on HBO since 2016). He is an 8’2” yellow bird with very large feet, sometimes described as a canary or a golden condor. Big Bird was performed by Caroll Spinney from 1969-2018, with apprentices filling in from time to time; in 2018, one of Spinney’s understudies, Matt Vogel, took over the role full time.
Either a Wild Thing rumpus is starting up or we’ve got our beast.
In the 1963 classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, by writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, the young hero Max declares “Let the wild rumpus start!”, which begins a dance-filled celebration among Max and his large, furry friends—who all have really big feet.
A Gene Simmons-asaurus.
Gene Simmons is a founding member, bassist, and co-lead singer of the makeup- and costume-heavy rock band Kiss. Simmons’ stage persona, The Demon, is known both for breathing fire and for Simmons’ exceptionally long tongue, which he displays enthusiastically, often while bathed in stage blood.
I want to register a complaint for what I feel was a misleading use of the word “beast,” which led me to assume it would be hairier. Perhaps a Yeti, or given the setting, a chupacabra.
In Tibetan folklore, the Yeti is a giant, white, ape-like creature that supposedly haunts the Himalayan Mountains. The chupacabra (Spanish for “goat-sucker”) is another legendary creature, first “sighted” in Puerto Rico but also reported as far north as Maine and as far south as Chile. The name, credited to Puerto Rican comedian Silverio Pérez, comes from the creature’s alleged fondness for drinking the blood of livestock.
You weren’t expecting a wiggly-tongued Claymation dinosaur? –No, I was not.
Claymation is a trademark in the United States, acquired by late animator Will Vinton in 1978. Vinton was a pioneer in the field of clay and plasticine animation. His studio (and the word “Claymation”) became known to most households in the mid-1980s thanks to their commercials for the California Raisins, Domino’s Pizza, and M&Ms. Vinton also worked on the film Return to Oz (for which he received a special effects Oscar nomination) and worked several times with singer Michael Jackson, including on the film Captain Eo. Since then, “Claymation” has become a kind of brand eponym for all forms of clay and plasticine animation.
I know it’s Claymation, but that’s slightly unreal. That would be like a human picking up a bulldog with his mouth.
See previous note.
Why must everything I love run away? Ooooh, Walking Dead.
In the season six episode of King of the Hill “Fun with Jane and Jane,” Bill Dauterive says sadly, “Why does everything I love run away from me?” after an emu he tries to pet attacks him and runs off. The Walking Dead (AMC, 2010-present) is a post-zombie-apocalypse TV show based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard.
I don’t know, monster and stampede, seems a bit much. I’d be happy with one or the other. It’s like one of those superhero sequels where they think they have to have two villains. It’s overload.
This is a problem with superhero franchises that feel they have to up the ante for the sequel. For example, Batman (1989) had the Joker, and Batman Returns (1992) had the Penguin and Catwoman. Superman (1978) had Lex Luthor, and Superman II (1980) had Luthor plus the three evil Kryptonians—General Zod, Ursa, and Non. Fantastic Four (2005) had Doom, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007) had Doom, the Silver Surfer, and Galactus. And so on.
We’re what’s for dinner. Yeah!
In 1992, “The Beef Council” (a promotional arm of the National Livestock and Meat Board) launched what became a long-running, award-winning, and widely recognized advertising campaign with the slogan “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.” The first run of the campaign cost $42 million and ran for 17 months. Television and radio commercials initially featured the voice of American tough-guy actor Robert Mitchum; following Mitchum’s death in 1997 the voice-over was done by tough-guy actor Sam Elliott.
Oh, Rock Ridge cannot catch a break.
Rock Ridge is the fictional frontier town in the 1974 Western satire movie Blazing Saddles, written and directed by Mel Brooks. The town is populated exclusively by white people named Johnson, who are terrorized by a corrupt attorney general and his assorted thugs and henchmen.
And so the running of the bulls was born.
Every year in Pamplona, Spain, between July 7 and 14, the “running of the bulls” is held, in which people and bulls run a marked-off course through the town. Deaths are relatively rare, but injuries are not.
House of Cards.
House of Cards (Netflix, 2013-2018) is an American political thriller/drama TV series, adapted from the BBC series of the same name, which in turn was adapted from a 1989 novel by Michael Dobbs. It starred Kevin Spacey as a Democratic congressman who ruthlessly plots to become president.
Yeah, 1,000 cows are a lot more powerful than one tyrannosaurus.
This meme has been floating around online for years: Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? It pops up on Reddit AMAs all the time, including, infamously, during President Obama’s AMA in 2012. (He did not answer, but his staff apparently debated the issue for a week.)
The same thing I do every night, Don Pedro. Try to take over the world!
Pinky and the Brain (Kids’ WB, 1995-1998) was an animated TV series created by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Originally appearing in regular segments on the Animaniacs series (Fox Kids/Kids’ WB, 1993-1998) before spinning off into their own show, the two main characters are genetically mutated lab mice. The Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is a hyperintelligent but incompetent mad scientist type bent on world domination, and Pinky (voiced by Rob Paulsen) is his good-natured doofus sidekick. A running gag on the show was for Pinky to ask, “What are we going to do tonight, Brain?”, to which the Brain would reply, “The same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!”
[Sung to the tune of “Blazing Saddles Signature/Main Title.”] He rode an angry saddle …
See above note.
Now, this is more of a classic monster movie, with a misunderstood little kid, a misunderstood giant monster. Throw in some mass casualties, yada yada yada. Everyone learns a valuable lesson, see?
The phrase “yada, yada, yada” to denote meaningless conversation or party chatter dates back to the 1940s in America; it is often believed to be Yiddish in origin, but most etymologists dismiss that explanation. It is probably derived from earlier British slang “yatata yatata” or “yatter yatter,” meaning the same thing. The term was popularized by a 1997 episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld (NBC, 1989-1998) titled “The Yada Yada,” in which characters repeatedly use “yada, yada, yada” to shorten their anecdotes and gloss over certain topics, particularly sex. “Everyone learns a valuable lesson” may be a reference to something Seinfeld co-creator Larry David famously said in regard to the sitcom: “No hugging, no learning.”
Oh, Orange Is the New Black is on.
Orange Is the New Black (Netflix, 2013-2019) is a comedy/drama TV series based on the 2010 memoir Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison by Piper Kerman.
Did Panchito put shoulder pads in to look tougher for the dinosaur scene? –Yeah, it’s a ladies’ power suit from the ‘80s.
Padding meant to give the illusion of broader shoulders in women’s clothing, especially business attire, is a fashion trend that goes in and out of style. The look has been especially popular in the 1940s, 1980s, and 2010s.
Earl Sinclair is the dinosaur family patriarch in the puppet TV sitcom Dinosaurs (ABC, 1991-1994), which was conceived in the late ‘80s by Muppets creator Jim Henson. Many of the characters were named after petroleum companies (Sinclair, B.P., Ethyl, Richfield, etc.).
It appears the hunter has become the … I can’t actually tell what’s going on.
The dramatic trope of “the hunter becomes the hunted” dates back to Greek mythology, where the hunter Actaeon unluckily stumbles on the virgin goddess Artemis while she is bathing; in anger, she transforms him into a deer and he is killed by his own dogs. In the season 3 episode of The Simpsons titled “I Married Marge,” Mr. Burns uses this line while playing Pac-Man: “Ironic, isn’t it? The hunter has become the hunted.”
How not to be seen.
In the Monty Python skit “How Not to Be Seen,” which originally aired in 1970, an increasingly crazed narrator purports to teach the viewers how not to be seen while killing all the people helping him demonstrate the skill.
Hi-yo Silver, let’s get outta here.
Silver is the magnificent white stallion belonging to The Lone Ranger, the fictional masked former Texas Ranger who, starting in 1933, battled evildoers in books, comics, radio, TV, and movies. “Hi-yo Silver!” and “Hi-yo Silver, away!” were his iconic calls of encouragement to his horse.
Ah! A brontosaurus! –Oh, no, señorita, it’s an allosaurus. In fact, not all paleontologists agree the brontosaurus is even a distinct genus.
In the late 19th century, two paleontologists were locked in a bitter struggle to find new dinosaur species. O.C. Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope, who hated each other, were scouring the American West in a race for new finds. In 1877, Marsh found a skeleton of a large, herbivorous dinosaur that was complete except for a head, which he named an apatosaurus; he rummaged around, found another head to stick on there (believed to be a camarasaurus skull), and published his find. Two years later, his collectors found a similar skeleton, which he dubbed a new species, the brontosaurus. But it was just another apatosaurus, this time complete with head. So the brontosaurus never really existed. But Marsh got to publish again and Cope gnashed his teeth in envy, which was the important thing. The allosaurus was yet another dinosaur, this one a carnivore, also discovered by Marsh in 1877. The rivalry did have one good outcome: between them, Marsh and Cope discovered about 130 species of dinosaurs.
[Sung.] All around the mulberry bush, the dinosaur chased the people …
“Pop Goes the Weasel” is a British nursery rhyme and singing game that dates back to 1853 and is the melody most often played by jack-in-the-box toys. There have been many variations and additions to the lyrics over the years, but the most common version goes like this: “All around the mulberry bush/The monkey chased the weasel/The monkey thought ‘twas all in fun/Pop! goes the weasel.”
[Sung: “Yakety Sax.”] You know, “Yakety Sax” makes everything great. –It should be playing over a PA system in every city in America all the time. We’d be happier.
“Yakety Sax” is a 1963 saxophone piece written by James Q. Rich and recorded by Boots Randolph. It was famously used as the closing theme song, from 1969 onwards, by the British sketch comedy series The Benny Hill Show (and is even sometimes referred to as “The Benny Hill Theme”). The closing credits usually aired over a sped-up chase scene, and “Yakety Sax” is frequently associated with comedic chases.
I want my two dollars.
In the 1985 black comedy film Better Off Dead, which stars John Cusack as a teenager who is suicidal after his girlfriend dumps him, a running gag centers around a paper boy on a bicycle who chases Cusack throughout the film, demanding payment for his newspaper delivery. Johnny, the paperboy (played by Demian Slade), periodically appears menacingly on his bike, demanding, “I want my two dollars!”
Here’s beastie! Ha ha, I’ve always wanted to do that.
An iconic scene in the 1980 horror film The Shining, based on the 1977 Stephen King novel by the same name, has Jack Nicholson hacking through a bathroom door with a fire ax as his wife cowers inside, then sticking his face through the hole and declaring “Here’s Johnny!”—an imitation of announcer Ed McMahon’s standard introduction of then-Tonight Show host Johnny Carson. The line nearly didn’t make it into the film: Kubrick, who lived in England and wasn’t familiar with American TV, at first didn’t understand its significance and almost used another take.
I wonder at which dojo she trained to use the bo staff.
Dojo is Japanese for “the place of the way,” and refers to a place for study and meditation, especially the study of martial arts. In martial arts, a bo is basically a long stick (usually around 71 inches), a staff weapon with origins in feudal Japan.
Does anyone smell toast?
A popular myth holds that smelling burnt toast (when no one is burning toast) is a sign of a brain tumor or a stroke. Most neurologists agree that, while it’s possible, you’re just as likely to smell nothing at all.
[Sung.] But the cowboy didn’t like him so he shot him in the face … –Meta!
Riffing on a line from early versions of the MST3K opening theme: “Love Theme from Mystery Science Theater 3000.” The KTMA-era episodes sang “He did his job well with a cheerful face/But his bosses didn’t like him so they shot him into space.” Episodes 101 through 512 sang “He did a good job cleaning up the place/But his bosses didn’t like him so they shot him into space.” Episodes 513 through 706 sang “Their/his experiment needed a good test case/So they/he conked him on the noggin and they/he shot him into space.” After that point, the lyrics no longer rhymed with “shot him in the face …”
Steve Prefontaine (1951-1975) was a middle-long distance runner who won nearly every race he competed in; in the racing world, he is still considered the benchmark against which other runners are measured. He died in a car accident at the age of 24. There have been two dramatic films released about his life: Prefontaine (1997), starring Jared Leto, and Without Limits (1998), starring Billy Crudup. There was also a 1995 documentary, Fire on the Track: The Steve Prefontaine Story, written and narrated by novelist Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).
No time for love, Dr. Jones.
Paraphrasing a line spoken by Indiana Jones’s (played by Harrison Ford) plucky kid sidekick Short Round (Jonathan Ke Quan) in the 1984 action movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Actual line: “Hey, Dr. Jones! No time for love. We’ve got company.”
Bachelorette (ABC, 2003-present) is a reality TV series. An offshoot of The Bachelor (ABC, 2002-present), it involves an “eligible” bachelorette (usually a runner-up from the previous season of The Bachelor) who chooses a potential husband from a pool of 25 to 30 men.
Nelson Muntz is a character on the long-running animated TV sitcom The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present), a bully and on-again, off-again friend of Bart Simpson best known for his mocking “ha-ha” laugh. Nelson is voiced by Nancy Cartwright, who also supplies the voice of Bart Simpson, among others.
Oh, you just know he’s going to stumble across James Franco’s arm.
Actor James Franco starred in the 2010 film 127 Hours, in which he portrayed real-life canyoneer Aron Ralston, who in 2003 amputated his right forearm with a pocketknife after it became trapped under a dislodged boulder in Blue John Canyon in Utah. After Ralston survived the five-day ordeal, it took 13 men, a winch, and a hydraulic jack to move the boulder and retrieve his arm, which was then cremated. Ralston returned to the spot six months later to scatter the ashes.
Slowly I turned, step by step, inch by inch …
This phrase comes from an old vaudeville routine that has been used by many comedians. Abbott and Costello used it in a 1944 film called Lost in a Harem; the Three Stooges did a version the same year in their Gents Without Cents; and a third version appeared in an I Love Lucy episode.
Step, shuffle ball change, step, shuffle ball change, step, shuffle ball change … huh?
These are tap dancing terms. A shuffle ball change has the dancer brush one foot against the floor forward and back, followed by alternating steps on both feet: one light and one heavy.
[Sung to the tune of “Beast of Burden.”] I finally am … Beast of Hollow Mountain …
See above note.
I see they smeared Vaseline on the lens to give the beast a more youthful look.
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly first introduced in 1872. The brand is owned by Unilever. Smearing a small amount of Vaseline on a camera lens or filter is a time-honored technique to provide a slight blurring effect, traditionally used to soften the wrinkles on an actor’s face or to add glamour to a pretty woman. The original Star Trek series (1966-1969) was especially egregious in its use of soft focus.
Hey, I call dibs.
Dibs is generally a childhood method of laying claim to something 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, theories vary. Three possibilities: 1) it’s an abbreviation of the Yiddish phrase “fin dibsy,” meaning “to lay claim”; 2) it derives from the word “divvy,” or divide; or 3) in the 17th-century children’s game “dibstones,” similar to the modern game of jacks, when a child captured a playing piece, he/she would call out “Dibs!”
Hey, good-lookin’, I’ll be back to pick you up later.
Paraphrasing a line from a much-parodied late 1970s TV ad for the Ronco product Mr. Microphone, a short-range radio transmitter that would make your voice broadcast from any nearby FM radio. In the commercial, a bunch of teens in a convertible drive past the camera, broadcasting, “Hey, good-lookin’, we’ll be back to pick you up later!” Mr. Microphone figured into the plots of the 1985 movie Police Academy 2 and a 1992 episode of The Simpsons as well as a 2000 episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, where TV’s Frank Conniff was senior story editor.
Start a new life. –Where do you think? Away from the monster!
Possibly a reference to an iconic line from the 1982 film Blade Runner: “A new life awaits you in the off-world colonies. A chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure.”
[Imitating Mister Ed.] Oooh, that’s cold, Wilbur.
See above note.
Uber pickups of the Old West.
See above note on Uber.
Just keep on driving, Thelma.
In the 1991 movie Thelma and Louise, starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon, the two heroines (spoiler alert) cap off their road trip/crime spree by driving their convertible off a cliff.
Several horses were hurt in the making of this film.
A paraphrase of the famous credit line “No animals were harmed in the making of this film.” The American Humane Association holds a copyright on that phrase. The practice of the AHA evaluating films for their treatment of animals dates back to the 1939 film Jesse James, in which a horse was blindfolded and ridden off a cliff to its death. For real. The ensuing outrage and massive protests led to an agreement with the movie industry to allow the AHA to oversee animal treatment on film sets, which up until then had been largely unregulated.
Well, that didn’t work. I’ll get a tennis racquet.
Possibly a reference to the 1988 comedy movie The Great Outdoors, in which Dan Aykroyd and John Candy go to battle with a rogue bat in a cabin using tennis racquets. And a fishing net. And a broom. And a wastebasket. And a flyswatter.
[Sung to the tune of “Blazing Saddles Signature/Main Title.”] They rode a bunch of saddles …
See above note.
In the 1985 comedy/horror movie Return of the Living Dead, a brain-eating zombie looks up to see a row of police cars arriving, and declares, “More brains!” The movie stars Clu Gulager (1928-2022), known to MSTies from Show 322, Master Ninja I, and Show 614, San Francisco International.
Weekend at Bernardo’s.
Weekend at Bernie’s is a 1989 film about two young men (Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman) who decide to pretend their boss, killed by a mafia hit man, is still alive. Tasteless hijinks ensue. The film cost $15 million and grossed $30 million at the box office. A sequel, Weekend at Bernie’s II (1993), grossed $12 million on a more modest $7 million budget. Critics hated both films.
This is where the fish lives.
A line from Show 908, The Touch of Satan, said by Melissa Strickland (Emby Mellay), the creepy, floppy love interest in the film. It was used as the stinger at the end of the episode.
Nobody’s gonna get me Lucky Charms! Hee-hee-hee!
Lucky Charms is an oat cereal with marshmallows produced by General Mills beginning in 1964. Lucky Charms’ mascot is Lucky the leprechaun, who is always trying to protect his cereal from children, lamenting in a shrill Irish brogue, “They’re always after me Lucky Charms!”
If the beast could just start quickly sliding everywhere on one foot, Gumby-style, I’d really appreciate it. Watching this wasn’t the only thing I had planned today.
Gumby is a green, vaguely humanoid clay boy created by Art Clokey, who also gave us Davey and Goliath. An early example of stop-motion clay animation, Gumby and his horse-like sidekick Pokey originally appeared in segments on Howdy Doody, and went on to have their own show, The Gumby Show, which ran in one form or another between 1955 and 2002, as well as a feature-length film and various other media. Gumby would, indeed, slide from place to place on one foot. Gumby attained solidly iconic pop culture status and was famously parodied by Eddie Murphy (“I’m Gumby, damn it!”) on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s. (According to Clokey’s son, his father “got a big kick out of” Murphy’s skits.)
Has anyone said “Watch out for snakes” yet? –Yeah, I think we did that. –Oh, we should have saved that for now.
See above note on Eegah!
Whoop, those leeches are bigger than I thought.
Possibly a reference to Show 406, Attack of the Giant Leeches.
He’s doing the old rope-a-dope. In that Jimmy’s using a rope, and he’s a dope.
Rope-a-dope is a boxing technique in which one fighter lets the other one pound away at him (usually by leaning against the ropes—hence the name), only defending himself enough to prevent injury, conserving his energy and tiring out his opponent. Then, once his opponent is exhausted, he comes out swinging. The strategy is most associated with boxer Muhammad Ali, who used it in his victorious 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” bout against George Foreman.
He looks like Spider-Man. If Spider-Man worked for UPS.
Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1962. Peter Parker is Spider-Man’s alter ego, who as a teenager was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him super strength, agility, and superior sensory perception. The character has appeared in several animated and live-action TV series, more than one series of wildly profitable feature films, and an unsuccessful Broadway production. United Parcel Service, or UPS, is a package delivery service founded in 1907; today it is a multibillion-dollar corporation. The company uniform is a brown cap, shirt, and pants (or shorts, in warmer weather).
And down goes Frazier!
Joe Frazier (1944-2011) was an American boxer who, as an amateur, won the Olympic gold in 1964 and was heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973. In a 1973 match in Jamaica against George Foreman billed as “The Sunshine Showdown,” Foreman won by a TKO 90 seconds into the second round, having knocked Frazier to the canvas six times already. The first of those knockdowns led excitable ABC sportscaster Howard Cosell to shriek “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”
Oh, I’m melting, I’m melting. What a world, what a world.
A line spoken by the Wicked Witch of the West (played by Margaret Hamilton), in a famous scene in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, in which Dorothy throws water over the Witch and melts her.
And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you … [Gurgling.]
The animated TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (CBS/ABC, 1969-1978) introduced the phrase “And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids” into pop culture. Variants of that line appeared frequently as the bad guy was unmasked at the end of the episode.
Well, that was a pretty amazing prequel to Chico and the Man.
Chico and the Man is an NBC sitcom that ran from 1974 to 1978. It was conceived as a vehicle for up and coming comedian Freddie Prinze, who played Chico Rodriguez, a Latino man working for “The Man,” the racist-with-a-heart-of-gold Ed Brown (played by Jack Albertson). It was the first American television series set in a Hispanic neighborhood. Prinze committed suicide in 1977; the show attempted to go on without him, and limped along for another season before it was cancelled.