102: The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy
by Trey Yeatts
A Republic serial. –You ever heard of a serial before? –Yeah, light oat. Oh, look! Pumpkin Boy! –No, not that kind of cereal. It’s, um ... –Some kind of wheat thing? –No. A movie that’s in series. –What? –You’ll catch on. It’s not a whole movie. –Why would someone go see part of a movie? –Uh ... I don’t know. –There’s always a boring short. –My shorts are never boring. –Thank you, Tom.
Republic Pictures was a movie studio established in 1935 known primarily for producing hundreds of serials, though they did release several classic films (including Rio Grande and The Quiet Man). The studio went under in 1959, though the name was resurrected in 1986 by National Telefilm Associates (NTA), which owned its film library.
Oklahoma! 1934! The oil fields are ablaze!
Spoken in the style of Movietone News narrators. Movietone News was a series of newsreels that played, like serials, before the main feature film from 1928 to 1963 in the United States; in the U.K. it ran until 1979.
Hey, look! There’s a sale at Penney’s! –Big stuff blowing up everywhere. –Maybe it’s a fire sale.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1980 comedy film Airplane! While air traffic control personnel are reading the headlines trumpeting the airplane’s woes, Johnny (played by the late Stephen Stucker) peers over their shoulders and exclaims, “There’s a sale at Penney’s!”
New petition against tax law.
“New Petitions Against Tax” is a subhead that has appeared in an amazing number of prop newspapers in old films, many of which became MST3K episodes. Besides Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy, those include Show 517, The Beginning of the End; Show 423, Bride of the Monster; Show 522, Teenage Crime Wave; Show 801, Revenge of the Creature; Show 804, The Deadly Mantis; Show 808, The She-Creature; and Show 809, I Was a Teenage Werewolf. Another recurring subhead that Joel/Mike and the bots often point out is “Building Code Under Fire.” Oddly enough, “New Petitions Against Tax” doesn’t actually appear on the newspaper shown when they make the riff, but it did in a previous shot moments before.
Who’s that guy mixing drinks? –Professor Tom Collins.
A Tom Collins is a type of mixed drink made with gin, sugar, lemon juice, and soda water. In 1874, “Tom Collins” was a type of prank played upon people by saying, “Hey, that Tom Collins was saying stuff about your mother!” (or a similar insult). The angry victim would stalk off in search of this bounder Tom Collins, who didn’t really exist. In 1876, once the hoax had become widely known, bartender Jerry Thomas published the first recipe for a Tom Collins cocktail.
And bring back some cheese.
A reference to old fables dating back to the 13th century, usually involving animals, who see a reflection of the moon in water and erroneously believe it’s a wheel of cheese. Historically speaking, no (sane) person ever believed that the moon was made of cheese. If you’re wondering about the occasional mention that the cheese was “green,” this isn’t a reference to its color but instead to its age (in this case, young).
Nice shooting, Lionel. –Thanks, Tyco.
The Lionel Corporation was a manufacturer of toy trains from 1900 to 1993, founded by Joshua Lionel Cowen. Tyco Toys made many playthings, including model railroad kits and slot car racing sets. The company was founded by John Tyler in 1926 (the name is a contraction of “Tyler Company”). Since 1997, Tyco has been a division of Mattel.
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on.
A line from one of David Bowie’s signature songs, “Space Oddity” (1969). Sample lyrics: “Ground Control to Major Tom/Take your protein pills and put your helmet on/Ground Control to Major Tom (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)/Commencing countdown, engines on (five, four, three)/Check ignition and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff).”
Window! Hello! –We’ve got a window! –Window! Boy, that was close.
In the 1950s television show Adventures of Superman (1952-1958), the Kryptonian (played by George Reeves) would enthusiastically leap from open windows to fly to the rescue of Lois and Jimmy from whichever kidnappers or gangsters were holding them captive that week.
Jane! Stop this crazy thing!
In the original run of The Jetsons (1962-1963), George Jetson could be seen in the ending credits taking the dog, Astro, for a walk on a treadmill that went awry when Astro began chasing a cat. George would then yell to his wife, “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!”
He was cleverly disguised as a Hershey’s Kiss.
Hershey’s Kisses are small, foil-wrapped, flat-bottomed teardrop-shaped chocolate candies made by Hershey. They were first made in 1907 and according to legend got their name from the way the molten chocolate is placed on the conveyor belt during production.
Hey, it matches my helmet and everything. Now all I need is the Sparkmaster playset and I’m done.
Josh may have meant Sparkabots, which were a line of toys in the Transformers universe of cartoons and toys. Sparkabots and other variations of Transformers were heavily advertised on kid’s TV shows in the late 1980s. (Thanks to Jason Harder for this reference.)
And this is for Louis Pasteur!
Louis Pasteur (1822-1895) was a French microbiologist who pioneered work in understanding the way germs cause diseases. He is best known for creating the process of “pasteurization,” by which a food or liquid is heated and then cooled rapidly, which kills most of the harmful bacteria and helps it stay fresh longer.
In the Bowery Boys movies of the 1940s and ‘50s, certain fight moves were called “routines” and assigned numbers.
I didn’t know Jackie Gleason was in this.
The 1950s television sitcom The Honeymooners starred Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden and Audrey Meadows as his long-suffering wife Alice.
He looks like Willard Scott.
Willard Scott (1934-2021) was a weatherman best known for working on NBC’s The Today Show, beginning in 1980. In 1983, he started the tradition of wishing centenarians (and older folk) happy birthdays during his segments. Fewer people know that from 1959 to 1962, Scott played Bozo the Clown on Washington, D.C., TV station WRC, and in 1963, he appeared in three commercials as Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown—the first live-action appearance of the character.
Hey, triple-word score! Is this a contraction? You can’t hyphenate!
Scrabble is a classic board game produced by Hasbro, in which players draw seven letters apiece and then attempt to spell words on the game board, crossword puzzle-style. “Triple-word score” is one of the bonus squares on the board, and contractions and hyphenated words are both disallowed under the rules of the game.
Hope they have a HoJo’s.
“HoJo” is a popular abbreviation for the Howard Johnson chain of restaurants and hotels, instantly recognizable from highways across the nation thanks to their distinctive orange roofs.
One small step for man. One giant leap for aieeeeee!
A paraphrase of astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first words as he walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Hey, it’s either ancient Greece or Vegas. Caesars World.
Caesars World was an opulent casino in Las Vegas established in 1971 and bought out in 2000.
It’s Bob Barker.
Bob Barker is a former game show host who emceed CBS’s The Price Is Right from 1972 to 2007. He also hosted Truth or Consequences from 1956 to 1975.
First floor. Lingerie, ready-to-wear, notions. Toupees. –Moon Men. –Three-pays.
For many years, manually operated elevators in high-rise buildings required employees who manipulated the lever. In department stores, the operator would often announce to the elevator’s passengers what products and services were available on each floor.
I am Orkon. This is my brother Xenon and my other brother Xenon.
A paraphrase of a popular line uttered by Larry (William Sanderson) while introducing his two silent brothers, Darryl (Tony Papenfuss) and Darryl (John Voldstad) on the sitcom Newhart (1982-1990).
Wish we had one of them doomsday machines.
A paraphrase of a line from Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, spoken by General Buck Turgidson (George C. Scott).
What, lovely parting gifts?
Traditionally, losing players on game shows receive consolation prizes in the form of “lovely parting gifts,” usually merchandise donated by the show’s sponsors in exchange for an on-air plug.
I can’t stan’ it. I can’t stan’ it.
A line from the 1952 film Singin' in the Rain, from the scene in which Lina Lamont (played by Jean Hagen) is taking elocution lessons. The teacher says, "I cahn't stahnd it," and Lamont replies nasally, "I caaan't staaaan' it." (Thanks to Chris "Sampo" Cornell for this reference.)
Garcia de Leon. Fountain of Youth guy? –No.
Juan Ponce de León (1474-1521) was a Spanish explorer who traveled to Hispaniola, governed Puerto Rico, and traversed a great deal of Florida in search of gold. The “Fountain of Youth” legend didn’t become attached to him until well after his death.
I do think José Rijo was the inventor of that cream sandwich. The Rijo? –Oh.
José Rijo pitched for the Cincinnati Reds from 1988-1995 and again briefly from 2001-2002 after he was forced to leave the sport for a time due to injuries. The highlight of his career came when he was named MVP after leading his team to victory in the 1990 World Series, their first championship in fourteen years.(Thanks to Craig Whyte for this reference.)
This movie is the producers’ answer to Montezuma’s Revenge.
Another name for “Traveler’s Diarrhea,” Montezuma’s Revenge is a Mexico-specific version of the affliction defined as three loose stools (among other abdominal troubles) within a 24-hour period. It’s named after the Aztec ruler Moctezuma II (a.k.a. Montezuma; c. 1466-1520), who supposedly placed a curse on the Spanish conquistadors, led by Hernán Cortés, who conquered his people.
Nice title card painting, don’t you think? –What is that? Kind of a mummy? Ma mummy? –Must’ve taken minutes. –Mr. Mummy.
Mr. Mom is a 1983 comedy starring Michael Keaton as a father who loses his job while his wife (Teri Garr) gets one, meaning he must become a stay-at-home dad.
Thirteen feet, four inches. 1920 Olympics.
Despite Crow’s assertion, “penetrating the mysteries of the great beyond” was not a medal event at the 1920 Summer Olympics, held in Antwerp, Belgium.
Tooney. Ooh, ooh! Francis!
A reference to comedian Joe Ross (1914-1982), who starred in sitcoms such as The Phil Silvers Show and Car 54, Where Are You? His shtick usually involved grunting “Ooh! Ooh!” before he called on someone or said what he was thinking. On Car 54 (1961-1963), Ross played Officer Gunther Toody; his partner was Officer Francis Muldoon (played by Fred Gwynne).
Sorta like the Iran-Contra Affair.
In 1986-1987, a huge and complex scandal slowly unfolded in Washington, D.C., that entangled multiple senior Reagan administration officials and nearly ensnared the president. Briefly, Congress had banned the funding of anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua, called the Contras, but the anti-communist hard-liners in the White House, determined to hold the line against the Reds in Central America, looked elsewhere to fund their cause. At the time, Iran was under an arms embargo; the conspirators sold weapons to Iran for the release of six U.S. hostages and funneled a portion of the proceeds to the Contras. President Reagan denied trading arms for hostages on national TV and no conclusive evidence was ever found linking him to the deals, though central figures involved say he knew of and approved the plans.
This is the city. Mexico. My name’s Friday. I carry a badge. I don’t need no stinking badge.
A paraphrasing of the introduction to the television series Dragnet (1951-1959, 1967-1970), spoken by Jack Webb in the role of Sergeant Joe Friday. “I don’t need no stinking badge” is a paraphrase of the famous line from the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges.”
I’m coming. Just a minute. –Hold onto your shorts. –I’m coming. –My legs are old. My teeth are gray. –I’m coming.
A paraphrasing of a running gag from Monty Python’s 1979 film Life of Brian. The elderly character of Matthias often responds to knocks at the door by saying some variation of, “My legs are old and bent. My ears are grizzled” or “My legs are grey. My ears are gnarled. My eyes are old and bent.”
Dr. Kildare. Dr. Scholl. Dr Pepper.
Dr. James Kildare is a fictional character who appeared in several feature films in the 1930s and ‘40s, a 1950s radio drama, and two TV series in the 1960s and ‘70s. Dr. Scholl’s is a foot care brand started in 1906 by podiatrist William Scholl. Dr Pepper is a soft drink manufactured by the Dr Pepper/Seven Up corporation. It was first introduced in 1885.
Isn’t that Floyd the Barber?
Floyd Lawson was Mayberry’s barber on the TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show from 1961 to 1967. In his first appearance, the character was portrayed by Walter Baldwin. In every subsequent episode, he was played by Howard McNear (1905-1969), who brought a trademark vocal style to the part. The character was based on a man named Russell who cut Andy Griffith’s hair at the barber shop in his hometown of Mt. Airy, North Carolina, on which Mayberry was based.
I think that’s the “Begin the Beguine.”
“Begin the Beguine” is a 1935 song by Cole Porter, made popular by Artie Shaw and his orchestra when they recorded it in 1938; it was one of the classics of the swing era.
Floyd the Barber. Of course, Tennessee Ernie Ford. And the evil Judge Robert Bork.
See previous note on Floyd. Born Ernest Jennings Ford, Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991) was a singer and television host. Musically speaking, his biggest hit was “Sixteen Tons,” released in 1955. Robert Bork is a legal scholar and the former attorney general of the United States. In 1987 he was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. He was attacked by civil rights and abortion rights organizations as a hard-right extremist, and the Senate ultimately voted to reject his nomination; the vacancy was eventually filled by Anthony Kennedy.
Hey, it’s Betsy Ross, you guys. –In a cameo.
In the American legendarium, Betsy Ross (1752-1836) is given sole credit for the design and creation of the American flag in the late 1770s. In reality, she was one of several seamstresses at work on flags for the fledgling nation. Her primary contribution (and the only one that she herself took credit for) was the use of five-pointed stars instead of six-pointed ones, because they were easier to make. But in 1870 her grandson claimed that she made the very first flag, and during the centennial celebrations six years later she was promoted as a patriotic ideal for women and young girls. The fable of Betsy Ross has clung tenaciously to life ever since.
They prepared hearty soups and broths and forced them on their guests, for they truly knew how to handle a hungry man.
“How to handle a hungry man” was an advertising slogan used by Chunky Soups (made by Campbell’s) for about fifteen years until it was discontinued in the early 1990s, when surveys showed that men and women consumed the product in nearly equal numbers.
And Zamfir, master of the pan flute, played. But that didn’t last long.
Gheorghe Zamfir is a Romanian musician and player of the pan flute (natch). He first started playing professionally in the early 1960s, but he became part of pop culture when commercials for his albums began playing seemingly nonstop in the 1980s.
And Ethel Merman opened with a song.
Ethel Merman (1908-1984) was a booming-voiced actress and singer who was well-known for her renditions of “I Got Rhythm,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”
[Chanted.] Mazola corn goodness!
A reference to a series of Mazola corn oil commercials in the 1970s that featured a Native American woman discussing the “goodness” of Mazola.
Hey, it’s a Peruvian Allstate representative.
Allstate is an insurance company founded in 1931 that offers auto, home, and life insurance, among other products and services. Their advertising slogan has been “You’re in good hands with Allstate” since 1950.
This has gotta be one of the most boring rides at Disneyland. You realize that, you guys? –Aztecs of the Caribbean.
The Disneyland theme park opened in 1955 in Anaheim, California. Pirates of the Caribbean is an attraction featuring animatronic pirates at Disneyland and three other parks. It first opened in 1967. The ride has since spawned a multibillion-dollar franchise of feature films, novels, video games, and more.
Kinda looks like Dirty Dancing, doesn’t it? –[Sung.] I’ve reached the end of my life, and I’m waiting for the knife to fall.
Dirty Dancing is a 1987 romance starring Jennifer Grey as a teen who falls in love with a dance instructor (Patrick Swayze) while her family is on vacation. One of the most popular songs from the film is “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes, and this is a paraphrasing of its opening lines: “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.”
Man, look. It’s the Jets.
The Jets are a Minnesota-based pop group made up of the Wolfgramm family, who, like the Osmonds, are a Mormon household with abundant offspring. The original lineup consisted of the eight oldest children, forming in 1985 and getting their biggest hit that same year with the single "Crush on You." Most of the other nine children rotated in and out at some point, and the group is still active today. (Thanks to Makkai for this reference.)
What’s he saying? –He says, “Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.” That was years before James Dean even existed.
The saying, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse” is often attributed to James Dean, Jim Morrison, or another person who did, in fact, die young. It was first spoken on film by actor John Derek in the 1949 Humphrey Bogart film Knock On Any Door. The film was based on the 1947 novel of the same name by Willard Motley. Dean (1931-1955) was an actor who had lead roles in only three films—Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant—before his untimely death in an auto accident. He’s the only actor to ever be nominated posthumously for two Academy Awards.
Why Floyd brought the Beaver, I don’t know.
See above note on Floyd the Barber. The Beaver was the nickname given to Theodore Cleaver (Jerry Mathers) in the TV series Leave It to Beaver, which ran from 1957-1963. The character reappeared in the CBS TV movie sequel Still the Beaver in 1983 and on the series that sprang from it, The New Leave It to Beaver, which ran from 1985 to 1989. In a poorly received remake in 1997, the character was played by Cameron Finley.
I think a swag lamp here and a beaded curtain would really brighten the place up. –[Sung.] Once a jolly swag lamp waited by the billabong.
A paraphrasing of lyrics from the Australian folk song “Waltzing Matilda,” frequently referred to as the “unofficial national anthem.” The lyrics were written in 1895 by Banjo Paterson, and it has been recorded many times over the ensuing years.
It’s the Phantom of the Opera.
The Phantom of the Opera is a French novel written by Gaston Leroux and published in 1909. It was made into a film starring Lon Chaney in 1925 and an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical in 1986. It’s about a deformed genius who haunts a theater and falls in love with a beautiful opera singer.
Remarkable. It was the neighbor’s basement. Once again, I could use their VHS without them noticing.
VHS (Video Home System) is a format of media storage using magnetic tape contained within a plastic cassette. It was developed by electronics company JVC and launched in 1976. In the U.S., the last major Hollywood film released on VHS was A History of Violence in 2006; today, only blank VHS cassettes continue to be produced.
Buffalo chicken wings.
Buffalo wings are unbreaded, fried chicken wings coated with an often-spicy sauce. They were created in Buffalo, New York, in 1964.
There’s a Tootsie Pop in his mouth. –It’s Kojak. –They really last a long time.
Tootsie Pops are lollipops filled with their signature chocolate chews, first created in 1930. They became popularized thanks to a 1970 TV commercial that featured a boy asking an owl how many licks it took to get to the center (answer: three; then it becomes so delicious that you can’t stand it anymore and just start chewing). New York City Police Detective Lieutenant Theo Kojak (Telly Savalas) was the lead character in the CBS police drama Kojak (1973-1978). In early episodes, Kojak smoked often on the show, but once producers decided that the character should quit, they gave him Tootsie Pops as a substitute, which became a trademark.
What is he, Rod McKuen?
Rod McKuen is a poet, composer, and singer who was immensely popular during the 1960s. His critics derided him as simplistic and sentimental, but he remained a guru to the flower child generation and was extremely successful as a songwriter and serious composer.
It’s an Aztec IUD.
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a type of birth control that works by placing an object inside the uterus to block sperm’s access to the fallopian tubes, thus preventing pregnancy. There are two types: copper (which also irritates the lining of the uterus to prevent embryos from implanting) and hormonal (which delivers measured doses of hormones to prevent fertilization).
Benjamin Sherman “Scatman” Crothers (1910-1986) was an actor, singer, and dancer. He appeared in films such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Shining. He was a voice actor as well, providing characterizations in animated shows such as The Harlem Globetrotters, Transformers, and the title character in Hong Kong Fooey.
[Sung.] Me and my shadow.
“Me and My Shadow” is a song written in 1927 and credited to Billy Rose, Dave Dreyer, and Al Jolson, though many believe that Jolson, who performed the song, was listed only so he could earn royalties along with his collaborators.
I ... am not an animal. I ... am an Aztec mummy.
A paraphrasing of famous lines from the 1980 fact-based drama The Elephant Man, wherein severely deformed John Merrick is confronted by an angry mob and screams, “I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being! I ... am ... a ... man!”
Guys, help me. He’s giving me a snuggie.
“Snuggie” here does not refer to the cozy sleeved blankets, but is an alternate term for a “wedgie,” the pulling of one’s underwear up and well into one’s crack.
[Sung.] Tie a sleeping Flora ‘round the altar stone. Hey.
A paraphrased version of the song “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree,” written and released in 1973. It was popularized by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando (not the other way around), and it became a number one hit.
Floyd’s out. Thank God. –[Imitating.] Oooh, what about Opie? –[Imitating.] Oooh, yes. Explosion. Yes.
See above note on Floyd. Opie Taylor was the son of Sheriff Andy Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show. He was played by Ron Howard.
Let’s see here: We the people of ... This will never work.
“We the people” is the phrase that opens the Preamble to the United States Constitution, written by a convention of delegates in 1787 Philadelphia.
Start a victory garden? –Have a bake sale? –Support Radio Free Europe? –Collect shiny things? –Buy bonds where you work or bank? –Get a gun? Get a gun. That’s a good thing. –He always resorts to violence.
The “victory garden” is a concept created by Charles Pack in 1917. Citizens were encouraged to grow their own fruits and vegetables during World Wars I and II to reduce the impact on nations’ food supplies. Radio Free Europe is a broadcasting outfit established in 1949 to undermine communist regimes in Eastern Europe by “poisoning” the minds of their citizens with thoughts of freedom and insidious rock & roll. It still operates today (often as “Radio Liberty”) in parts of Europe, the former Soviet republics, and the Middle East. “War bonds” are specific treasury notes purchased in order to fund the combat effort. Advertisements encouraging war bond purchases were ubiquitous during WWI and especially WWII, at which time movie stars, cartoon characters, comic books, and others urged patriotic citizens to do their duty.
No, he had two nights at the Copa.
The Copacabana was a New York City nightclub that opened in 1940. Over the years, it featured many popular performers, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, and more. In the ‘70s, unfortunately, it became a disco, and the likes of The Village People, Gloria Gaynor, and others performed there. It closed for three years in the late 1970s when the owner died. It reopened after that and has moved twice since then. In 1978, the club was immortalized in a Barry Manilow song.
[Random murmuring.] Peas and carrots. Peas and carrots.
Along with “rhubarb” and “watermelon,” “peas and carrots” is one of those phrases that background extras are often told to mutter among themselves as a way to simulate conversation in television shows and films.
I think he’s using Teleflora.
Teleflora is a flower wire delivery service (not unlike FTD or 1-800-FLOWERS) that sends flower arrangement orders around the world using a communications network. It was established in the 1930s.
Is he speaking into his glove? –Must be a party line.
Party line phone systems is a setup in which multiple telephone customers all share the same line. This was a common setup in rural areas and later became a discount service that people could join. When subscribing to a party line, if a member picked up the handset while it was in use by another subscriber, one could listen in on their conversation (see various episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, for example).
The Beer Barrel Popoca?
“Beer Barrel Polka” is a traditional drinking song. The music was composed by Jaromir Vejvoda in 1927; the lyrics were written by Vaclav Zeman in 1934.
Look. Peter Graves. –Who’s buried in Peter’s grave? –James Arness.
Peter Graves (1926-2010) was an actor best known for playing Jim Phelps on CBS’s Mission: Impossible from 1967 to 1973. He later hosted Biography on A&E. James Arness is Peter Graves’s brother. He is best known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke (1955-1975).
Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! Lions and tigers and bears. Oh my!
A line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Knock twice. Tell ‘em Sam sent ya.
Speakeasies were hidden establishments that sold illegal alcohol during the days of Prohibition (1920-1933). In order to gain entry, secret knocks in conjunction with code words or phrases were used.
He looks like Mr. French.
Mr. French (played by Sebastian Cabot) was the valet who helped his bachelor employer care for three orphans on the TV show Family Affair, which aired from 1966 to 1971.
“Anything you say.” Can and will be used against you.
A reference to the so-called Miranda Rights recited to every criminal suspect by police upon their arrest to inform them of their constitutional rights. This recitation became standard after the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the case Miranda v. Arizona and entered the public consciousness thanks to innumerable police dramas. In real life, however, the rights are generally read from a card, to ensure there is no variance in the wording that might enable the accused to get off on a technicality (hence the phrase “read him his rights”).
“Now walk.” Like an Egyptian.
A reference to the number one single “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles, released in 1986.
[Sung.] I feel pretty. Oh so pretty.
A line from the song “I Feel Pretty” from the musical West Side Story. Sample lyrics: “I feel pretty/Oh so pretty/I feel pretty and witty and bright/And I pity/Any girl who isn’t me tonight.”
“And now they’re dirty” And so are you.
The 1987 song “Clean Sheets” by the California punk-rock band Descendants contains the lyrics “Even though you'll never come clean, you know it's true/Those sheets are dirty, and so are you.” (Thanks to Kyle Kolek for this reference.)
And the snappy Coco Chanel pantsuit.
Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) was a legendary fashion designer whose name became a household word during the 1920s. Her design house remains a leader in haute couture, and the name Chanel is synonymous with expensive, elegant clothing.
If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
“(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right” is an R&B song about an adulterous affair. It became a hit in 1972 when it was recorded by Luther Ingram and again in 1974 when it was recorded by Millie Jackson and again in 1978 when it was recorded by Barbara Mandrell.
In the playground game of marbles, a cat’s eye is a type of marble, usually clear, with a colored injection resembling the slit of a cat’s eye.
Maybe a purie.
In marbles, a purie (or clearie) is any completely clear marble, though it could be applied to colored glass marbles, too.
Meanwhile, back at the other set. –Fortunately, it was still lit.
The phrase, “Meanwhile, back at _____,” originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators in films and radio and television shows. Most recently, it was used frequently in the various Superfriends animated series of the late 1970s and early ‘80s.
[Imitating Jerry Lewis.] Ohh, Dean! Don’t ... oooh! Hey! Scared and mummy and boy! –Oh! Very bad! –Lions and tigers and ooohhh! –Mrs. Mormenschantz! –Oooooh. Dean-o? –Beware all who enter whoa! –Whoa, Dean? –Dean-o! –Where are you? –[Imitating Dean Martin.] Jerry? Jerry, where are you? I can’t find you. Jerry? Say something to me, boy. –[Imitating Jerry Lewis.] Dean-o. Over here. –[Imitating Dean Martin.] Oh, there you are. Now quit horsing around. We’ve got a mummy to find.
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were a phenomenally successful comedy team during the 1950s, starring in a string of movies that included Sailor Beware and Living It Up. The exclamation “Mormenschantz” sounds suspiciously like the Swiss mime group Mummenschanz, which rose to prominence in the 1970s thanks to their appearances on The Muppet Show and other variety programs. If you’ve ever seen guys in black leotards pulling strips of toilet paper from rolls on their faces, congrats. You’ve seen Mummenschanz.
And the snappy Coco Chanel pantsuit.
See above note on Coco Chanel.
“Abracadabra” is a word long associated with magic. It is believed to come from Aramaic words, meaning “create as I say.” The first recorded use of the word comes from a second-century text written by Quintus Serenus Sammonicus, the physician of Roman Emperor Caracalla (188-217). He prescribed that an amulet with a triangular configuration of letters (spelling “ABRACADABRA” across the top) be worn to alleviate malaria symptoms.
Betty Crocker test kitchens.
Betty Crocker is the brand name developed by home economist Marjorie Husted in 1921 for the Washburn Crosby Company (later, General Mills). 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.
Let’s see. One, two, three. It forms three creamy layers. No, three layers. A creamy layer, a gelatinous layer ... Damn it! I must find that formula.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Jell-O made a dessert called 1-2-3 Jell-O, which separated into three strata as it cooled: a creamy, custard-style layer; a normal Jell-O layer; and an odd foamy layer. The product was discontinued in 1996.
Pop Rocks seem to be moving along nicely. Those M&Ms are almost done.
Pop Rocks are a kind of candy that come in small paper packets; when eaten, they “pop” and fizz in the mouth. Although the fizzing effect was perfectly safe, achieved by incorporating small pockets of carbonation in the candy, rumors quickly spread on playgrounds across the nation that eating Pop Rocks while drinking soda would cause your stomach to explode. They were first sold to the public in 1975, though the concept was patented in 1956. M&Ms are a brand of candy-coated chocolates manufactured by Mars Inc. They were first sold in 1941.
Oh my God. He’s torn apart the Michelin Man. Bib, buddy, it’s us! Pull yourself together. Oh, how horrible. He even slashed his spare.
The Michelin Man is an advertising figure for Michelin tires; designed in 1898, he is intended to look as if he is made out of a stack of tires. His given name is Bibendum, which first appeared in 1908. Want to know why he’s white? Before 1912, rubber tires were beige or grey-white. Modern tires are black because carbon is added to the rubber to strengthen them.
No, Kitty Carlisle. Who do you think it is?
Kitty Carlisle (1910-2007) was an actress who appeared in a few movies during the 1930s and 1940s, but she was best known for her regular appearances as a panelist on To Tell the Truth, a game show in which the celebrity panel must decide which of three contestants is associated with a story.
Start the music. –They’re playing musical chairs. –How horrible. Next they’ll be putting the tail on something.
Musical chairs (a.k.a. “Going to Jerusalem”) is a party game dating back to the 1870s, played with several people and an equal number, minus one, of chairs. Music is played and the players walk or dance around the chairs. When the music stops, everyone must sit. Whoever is left standing is out. A chair is removed and the game continues until there is only one chair and one victor. Pin the tail on the donkey is also a party game dating back to Victorian England, wherein a person is blindfolded and expected to pin a paper tail on a picture of a donkey.
Remember the unfortunate pushmi-pullyu.
The pushmi-pullyu is a fictional animal from the Dr. Dolittle series of children’s books written by Hugh Lofting. It looks like an antelope with two heads, one on either end of its body, and has a tendency to try to walk in two directions at once.
The Cosmo sex quiz?
Cosmopolitan is a women’s magazine known for its cover photos of cleavagey women, articles with titles like “10 Ways to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed,” and frequently featured quizzes. It is owned by the Hearst Corporation.
Who’s got the line? Line, please? –Don’t you think it would be better ... –Robot. Scarface. Light bulb. Floyd. Robot. Doctor. Good shot of me.
“Scarface” was the nickname given to mobster Al Capone (1899-1947). Also, Scarface is the name of a 1983 movie starring Al Pacino as a Cuban refugee who comes to Miami and becomes a drug kingpin. See above note on Floyd.
[Sung.] Chain, chain, chain ...
The opening line to the classic Aretha Franklin R&B song “Chain of Fools,” released in 1967.
Three o’clock and all’s hell.
“__ o’clock and all’s well” is a cry given by watchmen on their posts to indicate not only the time, but also the status. Though some variation of the cry has been around for millennia, this specific phrase is first recorded in the mid-1600s by watchmen under the employ of England’s King Charles II (1630-1685).
Dick York as the Mummy. –No, that’s the robot. –Oh, sorry. I think that might be Dick Sargent, anyway.
Darrin and Samantha Stephens were the mortal-and-witch couple on TV’s Bewitched, which ran from 1964-1972. From 1964 to 1969, Darrin was played by Dick York until a back injury he suffered ten years prior caused him to leave the show. He was replaced by Dick Sargent, who stayed in the role until the show ended. (Hold on. Dick York, Dick Sargent, Sergeant York ... Wow, that’s weird.)
[Sung.] I’m Milton, your brand-new son!
A reference to the ABC animated series Milton the Monster, which ran from 1965 to 1968. In the first episode, when Milton (a Frankenstein-type monster) comes to life, this is what he tells Professor Weirdo, his creator.
[Sung.] Put your right foot in. You put your right foot out. –You do the robie-pokey and you turn yourself about. –Your head’s filled with electrodes ... –It makes you wanna shout. –And that’s what it’s all about. –Hey. –Right foot in. –I don’t have any feet, Joel. –Oh. –Fun’s over.
A reference to the classic kids’ song “Hokey-Pokey.” Some theories of its origin date back to the mid-19th century. Elsewhere around the world, the song is known as “Hokey Cokey,” “Okey Cokey,” “Hokey Tokey,” etc.
I can’t help but think that that robot would be excellent on a miniature golf course. –Stop it! –Looks like a coffeemaker. –Krups coffeemaker. –Oh, no! –Sorry.
Krups is a German appliance maker founded in 1846.
[Imitating Floyd.] Oooh, oooh. This is for Andy! Can you do your Floyd voice? –[Imitating.] Ooooh, yes. Oooooh. The robot’s very ... –All right, Floyd! Floyd! Cut that out! –That’s for Aunt Bee! This is for Opie! That’s for Goober! –Where are my glasses? They’re on your face. –[Imitating.] Ooooh, yes. –Great comic action.
See above notes on Floyd, Andy, and Opie. Beatrice Taylor (played by Frances Bavier) was Sheriff Andy Taylor’s aunt and caretaker to Opie. “Goober” Pyle (played by George Lindsey) was Gomer Pyle’s cousin and became the show’s comic relief once Gomer (Jim Nabors) got his own show.
Hey, guys. Guess who’s history in this scene? –Juan Valdez? –Bingo.
Juan Valdez is the longtime spokesperson for Colombian coffee growers and exporters. He is usually shown out in the fields with his trusty mule, hand-picking the coffee beans just as they reach the epitome of tasty ripeness. He first appeared in 1959.
Let’s see, I’ll put this on broil. –It’s a decoy. –Must’ve been a smoking jacket. –Well, immolation is the sincerest form of flattery. I read that in a book.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is an aphorism written by Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832), an English cleric, in the 19th century.
I’m in for twenty on the robot. –I don’t know. That mummy’s got real nice speed. Amazing snakelike accuracy, too. –He does a hell of a softshoe, too. –He’s the Aztec of a thousand and one holes.
Softshoe is a variation of tap dancing, usually performed with soft-soled shoes and at a slower pace than usual tap dancing. It was popular during the vaudeville days of the early 20th century.
This scene is closed captioned for the speed impaired. –He moves like George Burns.
George Burns (1896-1996) was a comedian and actor who performed on the vaudeville circuit, as well as on radio, on TV, and in film. He appeared with his wife, Gracie Allen, on The Burns & Allen Show (1950-1958) and in the Oh, God! series of films in the 1970s and ‘80s.
He’ll put you in a sleeper hold. He just breathes on you. –This whole movie is a sleeper hold.
“Sleeper hold” is the name given to a type of chokehold, most often used in wrestling, that knocks out the opponent.
I think it’s really the human part of him that’s failing. –The human side likes the rich taste, but the robot in him loves the frosty goodness. –This isn’t a serial, is it? –Oh yeah, the other one was a serial, wasn’t it?
A reference to a series of commercials in the 1980s for Kellogg’s Frosted Mini-Wheats. In them, adults were eating the cereal and saying something to the effect of, “As an adult, I appreciate the fiber,” etc. Then the adult instantly became a small child, who said something like, “But the kid in me loves the great taste.”
I didn’t know Billy Barty was in this. –He’s got a small part.
Billy Barty (1924-2000), who plays the imp in Show 806, The Undead, was a prolific actor who also crusaded for societal acceptance of little people. He founded Little People of America in 1957 to work toward that goal. He appeared in more than eighty films and TV series during his lengthy career.