306: Time of the Apes
by Wyn Hilty
Oh, no, it’s a Sandy Frank thing.
Sandy Frank is a film and TV producer who imported, dubbed, and distributed many Japanese films in the 1960s and 1970s. Eleven of his films appeared on MST3K, including the Gamera movies, Humanoid Woman (Show K11), and Fugitive Alien (Show 310).
[Sung.] Sandy Frank … Sandy Frank … here we go again. Hey!
This is the first appearance of the immortal “Sandy Frank Song,” to be performed later in host segment five in all its glory.
Looks like a Sesame Street segment, kinda.
Sesame Street is a long-running PBS program aimed at preschoolers, which uses puppets, animation, and live actors to teach numbers, letters, and the like. It has been on the air since 1969.
Original story by Sasquatch. Adapted from a play by Koko and a novel by Chuckles.
The Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot, is a beape-like creature supposed to haunt the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. What is generally considered the best evidence for its existence—an amateur film taken in 1967—has been the subject of fierce debate as to its authenticity. Koko (1971-2018) was a Western Lowland Gorilla who, under the care of her trainer Francine Patterson, famously mastered about one thousand signs based on American Sign Language and was able to communicate with humans using the signs. Chuckles is a common name for chimpanzees in fiction; there are several children's books with that as a character, plus a myriad of plush toys. (Thanks to Matthew Kerr for the Koko reference.)
I’ll pull off that arm again … –Don’t hurt me.
Joel has pulled off Crow’s arm a couple of times, usually as punishment for a bad joke. In Show 302, Gamera, Joel removed Crow's arm for singing the MST3K theme song, and in Show 304, Gamera vs. Barugon, he removed Crow’s arm for using a horrible pun.
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was a highly respected science-fiction novelist and science writer best known for his Foundation trilogy. Along with Robert Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, he was considered one of the “Big Three” of science fiction.
Hey, where’s B.J.?
B.J. and the Bear was a television series that ran from 1979-1981, about the adventures of a trucker (B.J.) and his pet chimpanzee (the Bear). Moe, one of the several chimps that played Bear, brutally mauled his caretaker in 2005, escaped in 2008, and died in the wild. Chimpanzees aren't pets, kids.
Who took these photos, anyway—Diane Arbus?
Diane Arbus (1923-1971) was a photographer who got her start in fashion but who became renowned for her portraits of people on the fringes of society: strippers, nudists, transvestites, dwarfs and giants, and other similarly marginalized groups. Her work is disturbing, not least because it is impossible to tell whether the photographer is sympathetic or condescending toward her subjects. Arbus committed suicide in 1971.
[Sung.] Holiday with Johnny … Every day’s... –A holiday with …
A paraphrase of the song “Jolly Holiday” from the musical Mary Poppins; the actual lyric is “Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with Mary,” but it is frequently misquoted as “Every day’s a holiday with Mary.”
Hey, it’s Jame Gumb’s van.
Jame Gumb was the serial killer known as Buffalo Bill in the 1991 horror flick The Silence of the Lambs; the part was played by Ted Levine. In the film, he drives a van that he uses to kidnap his victims.
“It’s about time.” It’s about space.
The theme song to the TV sitcom It's About Time opens with these two lines. The show, which aired from 1966-1967, was about two astronauts who accidentally traveled back to prehistoric times and found themselves living with a family of cavemen. Imogene Coca played the cavematriarch. The show was produced by Sherwood “Gilligan’s Island” Schwartz, who reused many props and sets from his more successful (and much more famous) series.
I love you, Margaret. –Frank, not now.
Nurse Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (played by Loretta Swit) and surgeon Frank Burns (played by Larry Linville) enjoyed a passionate love affair on the TV series M*A*S*H, which aired from 1972-1983.
Seems like a lot of work to go through to make an Eggo frozen waffle, doesn’t it?
Eggo is a brand of frozen waffles that can be heated up in the toaster. They are manufactured by Kellogg’s.
Play Misty for me.
Play Misty for Me is a 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood as a DJ being stalked by an obsessed fan. The title comes from the stalker's habit of continually calling his show to request that he play the jazz standard “Misty,” composed by Erroll Garner.
RadioShack is a chain of electronics stores based in Fort Worth, Texas. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2015.
Kitty! It’s Snowball!
Probably a reference to the cat on the animated TV series The Simpsons, which first aired in 1989.
Hostess Sno Ball.
Sno Balls are a type of cream-filled snack cake covered with a layer of marshmallow frosting and coconut. First made in 1947 by Hostess, the brand is now owned by Apollo Global Management.
Rug Doctor—steaming mad at monkeys.
The Rug Doctor is a brand of carpet steam-cleaning machines available for rent at retail stores. Its longtime advertising slogan is “Steamin’ mad at dirt!”
They’re using Grecian Formula.
Grecian Formula is a hair dye for men that promises to gradually get rid of gray hair over a period of weeks—thus presumably making it less obvious that you dye your hair. It is manufactured by Combe Inc.
Now to shave his butt and put cosmetics on it.
In the late 1980s and early ‘90s, there was a well-coordinated and largely successful campaign by animal rights groups to identify cosmetics companies that used animals to test products for safety and hypoallergenic properties, and pressure them to stop doing so. In many locations, such as the European Union, India, Israel, and Norway, cosmetic animal testing is banned outright.
It’s William Burroughs.
William Burroughs (1914-1997) was a writer of experimental novels, of which the most famous is Naked Lunch. He became one of the seminal voices of the Beat generation in the ‘50s. He was also an enthusiastic user of recreational drugs, especially heroin.
Yes, this is Walt Disney.
A long-standing urban legend holds that theme park and movie studio founder Walt Disney’s body—or, according to some versions, just his head—was cryonically frozen after his death in 1966, in the hopes that some future technology would be able to bring him back to life. Some versions claim the Walt-sicle is hidden beneath the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland. Disney’s daughter Diane wrote in 1972, “There is absolutely no truth to the rumor that my father, Walt Disney, wished to be frozen. I doubt that my father had ever heard of cryonics.” In reality, Disney was cremated, and his ashes are interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Yeah, we turned him into a Hummel. Check it out.
Collectible figurines based on the drawings of Sister M.I. Hummel, a Bavarian nun, were first produced by the German company Goebel in 1935. They first became popular after World War II, and production has changed hands many times since then.
“Some even tell us that they were dreaming.” Of a white Christmas?
A reference to the classic holiday song “White Christmas,” written by Irving Berlin in the early 1940s. Sample lyrics: “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas/Just like the ones I used to know/Where the treetops glisten/And children listen/To hear sleigh bells in the snow …”
Johnny B. Goode!
A reference to the Chuck Berry song by the same name. Sample lyrics: “Deep down Louisiana close to New Orleans/Way back up in the woods among the evergreens/There stood a log cabin made of earth and wood/Where lived a country boy named Johnny B. Goode.”
Go, Johnny, go!
A line from the chorus to “Johnny B. Goode” (see previous note).
It keeps the hot side hot and the cold side cold.
This is an old advertising slogan for McDonald’s McDLT burger, which was briefly popular during the 1980s. The burger came in a two-sided container, with one side holding half the bun and the meat, and the other side holding the other half of the bun, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.
How do it know?
This is the punch line to an old joke: when a man is told that a thermos keeps hot things hot and cold things cold, he looks puzzled and asks, “How do it know?”
Krakatoa is a volcano in Indonesia that erupted with stunning force in August 1883, destroying most of the volcanic peak and exploding with a sound so loud it was heard 3,000 miles away. The eruption killed roughly 36,000 people on neighboring islands, most of them dying in the massive tsunamis generated by the eruption.
Oh, wow. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? They’re going to end up being an Irwin Allen production.
Irwin Allen (1916-1991) was the television and movie producer behind such shows as Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants.
I love the sound of breaking glass. —Especially when I’m lonely.
A line from the 1978 Nick Lowe song “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass.” Sample lyrics: “I love the sound of breaking glass/Especially when I’m lonely/I need the noises of destruction/When there’s nothing new.” (Thanks to John B. for this reference.)
If a tree falls in Japan and no one is there …
A variation on a thought experiment from the 18th century: “If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Johnny Carson’s Malibu home.
Tonight Show host Johnny Carson (1925-2005) was a longtime resident of the coastal community of Malibu, California, and his famous all-glass Malibu beach house, which cost $9 million in 1984 and was designed by a nuclear physicist, apparently suffered some damage in the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.
Did the earth move for you too?
The line “But did thee feel the earth move?” (along with a couple of other references to the earth moving) appears in Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls. Prior to that, the phrase “feel the earth move” was not yet a reference to good sex.
I feel the plot move under my feet.
A paraphrase of the song “I Feel the Earth Move” by Carole King. Sample lyrics: “I feel the earth move under my feet/I feel the sky tumbling down, tumbling down/I feel my heart start to trembling/Whenever you're around.”
Whoa! Suddenly we’re at the Fillmore!
The Fillmore is a legendary concert venue in San Francisco, with fantastic light shows, that hosted some of the biggest acts of the 1960s: Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, etc., etc.
Do not attempt to adjust your TV set.
A paraphrase of the famous opening narration of the TV anthology series The Outer Limits, which originally aired from 1963-1965, and had a mid-1990s revival. There were many variations of the opening narration, with the gravitas-laden announcer intoning this basic idea (over visuals of video distortion): “There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission. For the next hour we will control all that you see and hear. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to...The Outer Limits.
It’s the Daleks!
The Daleks are a race of alien creatures housed within mechanical devices on the British sci-fi television series Doctor Who. First introduced in 1963, they became immensely popular in Britain, launching a wave of Dalek merchandise over the next two years. Thanks to the 2005 relaunch of the show, Daleks have once again become a cultural phenomenon.
“Exterminate! Exterminate!” is the war cry of the Daleks (see previous note).
“Uncle!” Does that mean give up?
“Say ‘uncle’” is an idiomatic expression used to demand submission from someone, such as when kids are wrestling. It’s often thought to be a wholly American expression, but its origins may go back to ancient Rome, and an Arabic version is common in the Middle East.
“Uncle Charley!” [Imitating.] What do you want, kid? Chip! Ernie! Where the heck is Preston Sturges?
On the TV sitcom My Three Sons, after the actor who played eldest son Mike left the show, producers brought in an adopted son, Ernie (played by Barry Livingston), alongside remaining sons Robbie and Chip, to keep the cast in line with the show’s title. Gruff-but-lovable Uncle Charley (William Demarest) acted as the housekeeper of the household and as the full-time caretaker for Ernie. Over his acting career, Demarest often worked with Preston Sturges, a writer and director known as the father of screwball comedy, appearing in such classic films as The Lady Eve and Sullivan’s Travels. (Thanks to James O’Blivion for the My Three Sons reference.)
[Sung.] Hello … hello … hello … Hello!
A classic Three Stooges routine, in which they answer the phone or pop out from behind one another, each saying hello in turn.(Thanks to Aaron Drewniak for this reference.)
It’s a whole planet of Ron Perlmans.
Ron Perlman is a burly actor who played the deformed Vincent on TV’s Beauty and the Beast. He has appeared in many other movies and TV shows, including Hellboy, Alien: Resurrection, and Sons of Anarchy.
Make my day.
“Go ahead—make my day” is the iconic line spoken by Dirty Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood) in the 1983 film Sudden Impact.
Looks like a De Palma film.
Brian De Palma is a film director known for violent thrillers such as Dressed to Kill (1980) and Scarface (1983). He commonly uses rotating shots in his films, similar to the one Joel and the bots are watching here. (Thanks to James O’Blivion for the info on De Palma's use of rotating shots.)
Read the book.
An often-repeated line in television commercials for the Time-Life book series Mysteries of the Unknown, which were published between 1987 and 1991.
Hey, here comes the Scopes Monkey Trial guy.
The 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial accused high school teacher John Scopes of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which forbade the teaching of evolution in public schools. The trial pitted former presidential candidate and fundamentalist William Jennings Bryan against defense lawyer Clarence Darrow. Although Scopes was eventually found guilty of violating the law, it was generally agreed that Darrow won a moral victory and made the fundamentalist argument look weak and foolish.
Now, you magnificent son of a bitch …
A reference to a line in the 1970 film Patton, spoken by George C. Scott as the title character: “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”
Mystery guest, enter and sign in please.
On the TV game show What’s My Line?, which aired from 1950-1967, the final round was always reserved for a “mystery guest,” who was a celebrity of some stripe. The panel would be blindfolded before the mystery guest would enter and sign their name on a chalkboard.
They’ve entered the valley of the Fuzz-Tone guitar.
The Gibson Maestro FZ-1 Fuzz-Tone was the first fuzz distortion device made for electric guitars and bass guitars to really catch on with garage bands and psychedelic rock bands in the 1960s, thanks to Keith Richards using one on the Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” Gibson brought back the Fuzz-Tone in the 1990s, but later discontinued it.
I like you. I’m going to kill you last.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1985 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando. The entire exchange:
Sully: Here’s twenty dollars to get some drinks in Val Verde. It’ll give us all a little more time with your daughter.
Matrix: You’re a funny man, Sully. I like you. That’s why I’m going to kill you last.
So we put up with centuries of bellhop costumes, little T-shirts that say “Zippy” on them, badminton on ice, roller skates, cigars in our mouths, Lancelot Link alone set us back a hundred years!
Zippy the Chimp was a frequent guest on TV variety shows of the 1950s and 1960s, demonstrating his talents at roller skating, finger painting, and playing the piano. (There were actually multiple Zippys, all trained by a husband-and-wife team in the Bahamas.) He first appeared on The Howdy Doody Show, and comedic shots on other programs soon followed, including CBS's The Ed Sullivan Show. He appeared on shows for decades, with regular stints on Captain Kangaroo and Late Night with David Letterman. Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp was a Saturday morning, live-action program that aired on ABC from 1970 to 1972. It featured chimpanzees with dubbed voices in a Get Smart-esque spy comedy. Lancelot Link (played by Tonga and voiced by Dayton Allen) sounded something like Humphrey Bogart. Link's partner was Mata Hairi (played by Debbie and voiced by Joan Gerber). Their primary enemy was Baron von Butcher (voiced by Bernie Kopell), who spoke with an exaggerated German accent.
This is a famous line from the Peter Falk/Alan Arkin movie The In-Laws: “Serpentine, Sheldon, serpentine!”
Oh, meanwhile, in the Emerald Forest …
The Emerald Forest is a 1985 film starring Powers Boothe as a man searching for his lost son in the rain forests of Brazil.
There's John Boorman.
John Boorman was the director of The Emerald Forest (see previous note). (Thanks to E. Dineen for this reference.)
Well, look up there! Ned Beatty! Fat old hog. Heh-heh. Sorry.
Ned Beatty (1937-2021) was a heavyset character actor who appeared in more than 100 movies and TV shows over the course of his career. One of those movies was the 1972 film Deliverance, directed by John Boorman (see previous notes). There is an infamous scene in Deliverance in which Beatty’s character is raped while being instructed to “squeal like a pig!” (Thanks to E. Dineen for pointing out the Boorman connection.)
“Stay together!” That’s what Al Green said. I agree.
A reference to the Al Green song “Let’s Stay Together.” Sample lyrics: “Let’s stay together/I’m, I’m so in love with you/Whatever you want to do/It’s all right with me/’Cause you make me feel so brand new/I want to spend my life with you.”
Prepare to meet Kali … in hell!
A line from the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, when Indy is facing down the cultists on a bridge.
Must get to my utility belt …
Batman, a superhero staple of comic books who has also appeared in movies, on television, and in animated shows, wears as part of his costume a belt around his waist known as his utility belt. It has pouches containing various gadgets that help Batman in his crusade against crime. These gadgets vary, but examples include the Batarang, a boomerang shaped like a bat, and a reel of super-thin cable to help Batman climb walls and swing from rooftops.
Look, if you can’t work out thirty minutes a day, you don’t deserve a hot date.
Pop singer Sheena Easton used this line in a series of commercials shilling Bally Fitness Center’s “30 Minute Workout.” (Thanks to Bill Stiteler for this reference.)
Aren’t you glad you used Dial? Don’t you wish everybody did?
The longtime slogan for Dial soap was “Aren’t you glad you used Dial? Don’t you wish everyone did?”
Hey, it’s Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.
Ken Kesey (1935-2001) was a writer whose most famous work is his 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was adapted into an Oscar-harvesting movie starring Jack Nicholson in 1975. He was also a strong advocate of using drugs to free one’s mind from its conventional patterns, especially LSD. In 1964 Kesey drove cross-country in a bus with a group of like-minded people dubbed the Merry Pranksters. The group eventually settled outside San Francisco and began throwing wild LSD parties that included the likes of the Hell’s Angels. The story of the Merry Pranksters’ bus trip was told in Tom Wolfe’s 1968 book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.
Hi, I’m William Conrad for First Alert. Don’t let this happen to you. Paper windows just aren’t safe. Use the door. Thank you.
Portly actor William Conrad starred in a series of commercials for First Alert smoke detectors during the 1970s.
Time for your origami lessons.
Origami is the Japanese art of creating small figures—usually animals, such as cranes—from very precisely folded paper. It dates back to the 1600s.
[Hummed.] Sneaking music.
This musical cue, called “Mysterioso Pizzicato,” dates back to the silent movie era, and was first compiled and published by J.B. Lampe in 1914 (although he probably didn't write it). It's also known as "Here Comes the Villain" and "The Villain's Theme" and has been used in films, television, and cartoons for nearly a century.
Hey, Keith Richards at home.
Keith Richards is the lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones and has had widely publicized problems with drug addiction, particularly heroin. His drug habits earned him the top spot on New Musical Express magazine's list of Top Ten Rock Stars Most Likely to Die in 1973, a position he held for ten years before the magazine finally gave up on him. Having remained an unrepentant partier (though free from heroin addiction since 1978) while managing to survive into old age, outliving countless contemporaries, Richards holds a place of honor as a strangely indestructible freak of nature.
A line from the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
[Sung.] Tradition … tradition!
A line from the song “Tradition,” from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. Sample lyrics: “Tradition, tradition! Tradition!/Tradition, tradition! Tradition!/Who, day and night, must scramble for a living/Feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers?/And who has the right, as master of the house/To have the final word at home?”
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is considered by many as the founder of modern art and one of the greatest geniuses the art world has ever known. He painted in many different styles over the course of his long career, of which the most famous is Cubism. His well-known works include a portrait of Gertrude Stein, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Guernica.
Hey, the cheese phone is ringing.
This might be foreshadowing, but the Mads present the Cheese Phone in their invention exchange in Show 313, Earth vs. the Spider.
Yes, Mr. Colby.
Colby is a type of mild cheese similar to cheddar, first produced in Wisconsin about 140 years ago.
Limburger on line two.
Limburger is a semi-soft cheese known for its strong, distinctive odor. Originally produced in Belgium, it is now largely a German cheese.
He’s Oscar Wilde!
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was a 19th-century Irish poet and playwright best known for his stage comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest, as well as for his legendary wit. Wilde was one of the central figures in the Aesthetic movement of the late 19th century, which emphasized the importance of beauty and art. Although he had a wife and children, he was also involved in a series of relationships with male prostitutes, and was ultimately accused of sodomy over his close friendship with Lord Alfred Douglas and sentenced to two years of hard labor. He died a few years after his release from prison in 1897.
Give me Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. Thank you.
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier is a 1954 film starring Fess Parker as the legendary outdoorsman. It was made by splicing together scenes from the first three Davy Crockett TV movies Parker made for Disney. The famous theme song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett," was written by George Bruns and Thomas Blackburn and performed by The Wellingtons.
[Sung.] I cannot stay … I must be going.
A line from the song “Hello, I Must Be Going,” from the 1936 Marx Brothers movie Animal Crackers. Sample lyrics: “Hello, I must be going/I cannot stay, I came to say, I must be going/I’m glad I came, but just the same I must be going.”
[Sung.] 99 banana daiquiris on the wall/99 banana daiquiris …
A variation on the old school field trip standby “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”
Ho-ho-ho-hold the bus! It’s the Banana Splits Show! Fall in, Fleegle, Bingo, Droople and Snork!
The Banana Splits were animal rock musicians on a Saturday morning kiddie show in the late 1960s. They lived in Hocus Pocus Park, where their cuckoo clock always read 6:55. The band consisted of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper (not Droople), and Snork.
Uh-oh, it’s Prince! His Royal Purpleness!
The Minneapolis musician Prince (1958-2016) was one of the seminal musical talents of the 1980s; in particular, his albums 1999, Purple Rain, and Sign o’ the Times were phenomenally successful. True to the title of his album Purple Rain, he often dressed in the color purple.
“Those invaders must be caught, and this time, you mustn’t let them get away, or I’ll have you all shot.” It is Prince.
Prince (see previous note) had a reputation for being controlling, particularly when it came to his music.
Run through the jungle.
“Run Through the Jungle” is a 1970 song written by John Fogerty and performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Green Mountain. I can’t believe I’m still in Green Mountain.
This is a paraphrase of a line from Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 movie Apocalypse Now, spoken at the beginning of the film by Martin Sheen: “Saigon. Shit! I’m still only in Saigon.”
“I wonder why the fence is here?” They make good neighbors.
“Good fences make good neighbours” is a line from the Robert Frost poem “Mending Wall.”
They got a lovely bunch.
“I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” was a hit for both Danny Kaye and Merv Griffin in the 1950s. Sample lyrics: “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts/There they are standing in a row/Big ones, small ones, some as big as your head/Give ’em a twist/A flick of the wrist/That’s what the showman said.”
Steven Seagal in Shoot the Monkey.
Steven Seagal is a martial artist and tough-guy actor who has appeared in such action films as Hard to Kill and Under Siege.
It’s Mike Nesmith. He was a monkey too.
Michael Nesmith was one of The Monkees, the 1960s made-for-TV musical group that had their own series from 1966-1968, and actually sold a lot of albums and did a lot of touring, just like a real band.
Hey, just like Ed Ames on The Tonight Show.
In a famous 1965 appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, singer and actor Ed Ames—who at the time was playing the role of the Native American “Mingo” on the TV western Daniel Boone—demonstrated his technique for throwing tomahawks. His throw struck the cowboy target directly in the crotch, with the handle pointing up. The audience's reaction is widely considered the longest sustained laugh by a live audience in television history, helped along by Carson’s quip, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish.”
Dang! We got us a family!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1987 film Raising Arizona: “What, are you kiddin’? We got us a family here!” (Thanks to Kevin Rietmann for this reference.)
Are you a Hatfield or a McCoy?
The great Hatfield-McCoy feud of the 19th century has become a popular icon in American history. Devil Anse Hatfield and Randolph McCoy were settlers along the border between West Virginia and Kentucky. The feud apparently began with an argument over some hogs and rapidly escalated into violence. By the time a truce was called in 1891, a dozen members of both families had been killed.
Let’s crap in our hands and throw it at people! No, you know, it doesn’t matter how much you evolve, that’s still damn funny.
This is behavior only seen in captive primates, never in the wild. It seems to be linked to intelligence and highly developed speech centers.
She’ll drink anything.
A reference to a line that was bandied about in Show 101, The Crawling Eye.
There goes Sheriff Lobo!
The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo was a 1979-1981 television series about a corrupt sheriff; it was a spinoff of B.J. and the Bear (see above note). It starred Claude Akins as Sheriff Elroy P. Lobo.
Hey, Steve Tyler from Aerosmith.
Steven Tyler is the lead singer for the rock band Aerosmith. He is known for his flamboyant style and large mouth (and, in the early days, his habit of bringing a bottle of Jack Daniels onstage with him).
Oh, great, it’s a planet of owls. –And they are not what they seem. Get it?“The owls are not what they seem” is a line from the surreal TV series Twin Peaks, which aired from 1990-1991.
I heard one call my name.
I Heard the Owl Call My Name is a novel by Margaret Craven about a young vicar sent to live among the Indian tribes of the Pacific Northwest.
Eddie Munster was the young son on the TV series The Munsters, which aired from 1964 to 1966. He was played by Butch Patrick.
The Invaders. In color.
The Invaders was a 1967-1968 ABC TV series about a man’s efforts to expose the aliens that had insinuated themselves into every level of government. In the mid-1960s, as color television sets spread around the country, many television shows trumpeted the fact that they broadcast "In Color!" ABC was, in fact, the last of the three major networks to go to full color, and Invaders promos announced the transition prominently.
Corn dodgers! I love ‘em!
Corn dodgers are a traditional southern recipe consisting of dollops of cornbread batter fried in oil.
Go, go, Godo, watch him go, go, go. Go go, Godo, watch him go, go, go.
A paraphrase of the theme song to Go Go Gophers, a short-lived late '60s animated TV series that spun off from Underdog. Sample lyrics: “Here comes the colonel with his sergeant/Both are a-roarin' and a-chargin'/Go go gophers, watch them go go go/Go go gophers, watch them go go go.”
This music sounds like it’s from Sketches of Spain. –Or Sketches of Spam.
Sketches of Spain is a 1960 album by jazz trumpeter Miles Davis. Spam is a canned, processed pork product made by the Hormel Foods Corporation. It has been around since the 1930s and is very popular in Hawaii. “Spam” is also the name of a sketch by British comedy troupe Monty Python that first aired in 1970, involving patrons of a greasy spoon diner singing the praises of Spam with a song that repeats the name endlessly. It’s generally accepted that the term spam—meaning unsolicited and unwanted email—came from this sketch.
Ooh, that’s good weed. Ooh-hoo!
An imitation of Art Fern, an unctuous character created by Johnny Carson during his tenure as host of the Tonight Show. Carson’s act was in turn based on Jackie Gleason’s character Reggie Van Gleason III.
Nicolas Cage in Wild at Heart.
Wild at Heart is a 1990 film directed by David Lynch and starring Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern as a young couple on the run from hired killers.
Pepe, don’t be a hero!
“Billy Don’t Be a Hero” is a 1974 pop song by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander that was a hit in the UK for Paper Lace and in the US for Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. Though associated with the Vietnam War, the lyrics are actually about an unidentified war, presumed to be the American Civil War.
He’s a crispy critter, kid.
The slang for a burned body comes from Crispy Critters, a frosted cereal that came in the shapes of various animals; it was popular during the 1960s and made a brief comeback in 1988. It was manufactured by Post.
Wow, there was a bear with a ranger hat on, and he kept screaming “Only you!”
Smokey the Bear is the longtime mascot for the U.S. Forest Service. He was created in 1944 to preach the message of fire prevention, with the slogan “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
Hey, Joel, he’s got a monkey on his back.
See above note.
[British accent.] Tis a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done.
This is a line from the end of Charles Dickens’ novel A Tale of Two Cities; the man who says it is going to his death, sacrificing himself in place of another man. The accent implies this is an imitation of British actor Ronald Colman, who spoke the line in the 1939 film adaptation. It is also famously quoted at the end of 1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, spoken by Admiral James T. Kirk about the late Captain Spock, who earlier in the film sacrificed himself to save the ship.
[Sung.] Sandy Frank … Sandy Frank … likes to crap in his hand … –Oh, I hope he doesn’t see this.
For years, rumor had it that Frank had pulled his films from circulation on Comedy Central due to the drubbing he took in this episode and others. Not true. Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo) said in an interview that they simply couldn't afford to renew the rights for the films in these episodes.
Sounds like Pres and his horn section there.
Lester “Pres” Young was a jazz saxophonist who played with Count Basie and who turned Kansas City into a major jazz center in the 1930s.
Colonel Sanders? What happened?
Colonel Harland Sanders was the man who, in 1940, came up with the famous “original recipe” and founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. He died in 1980.
And look, here’s Peter Noone.
Peter Noone is an English singer and songwriter. He was the front man for the rock band Herman’s Hermits.
Hey, who is that back there on the stake? John of Arc?
Joan of Arc (1412-1431) is a national heroine of France and a Catholic saint. In the 15th century, as a teenager convinced that God had entrusted her with a holy mission, she led the French army against the English. She was ultimately captured by the English and burned at the stake for heresy.
Gamera is a series of Japanese kaiju films, twelve in all, about a large flying turtle who befriends children and occasionally stomps Japan. He was created in the mid-'60s as Daiei's competitor against Toho Studio's more popular Godzilla series. MST3K riffed five Gamera movies in the KTMA season and repeated them in Season Three, including Show 304, Gamera vs. Barugon, and Show 308, Gamera vs. Gaos.
“Silence.” Of the lambs.
Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 horror film about a young FBI agent (Jodie Foster) and her relationship with an imprisoned serial killer, Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). In the 1992 Academy Awards, Lambs became only the third film to win Oscars in all top five categories.
See above note.
“Silence.” Of the lambs.
See previous note.
It puts the lotion on its skin …
See above note on Jame Gumb. Gumb insisted on lotion because he wanted to make a suit from the skin of his victims.
Meanwhile, on CHiMPS …
CHiPs was a TV series about two motorcycle cops with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), played by Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox. It aired from 1977-1983.
Hey, it’s a Shriner!
The Shriners are a fraternal organization known for their circuses, good works, and silly-looking fezzes.
You will kill me!
A paraphrase of Sting's maniacally over-the-top line in Dune (1984): "I WILL kill him!" (Thanks to Kevin Rietmann for this reference.)
Bethlehem! Sort of.
Bethlehem is a city on the West Bank near the Mediterranean Coast of Western Asia. It is significant in the Christian religion as the accepted birthplace of Jesus
The king of apes rides in style in the new Buick Skylark.
The Buick Skylark is a model of car that first appeared as a limited production model in 1953 and 1954. It then disappeared until Buick reintroduced it in 1961 as a sport coupe. It stayed in production until 1972.
It’s a Masonic temple.
Freemasonry, or the Masons, is a secret fraternal organization with about five million members worldwide. Their meeting places are called temples.
Oh, they have a special handshake.
Masons have a number of special handshakes to identify themselves to other members and indicate what rank they have attained in the organization.
From now on your name is Zippy.
See note on Zippy the Chimp, above.
Oh, too many White Castles last night.
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.
A bug zapper! I checked in but I can’t check out!
The longtime advertising slogan for Roach Motels is “Roaches check in—but they don’t check out.” Though the insect control brand Black Flag holds the copyright to the name, “roach motel” is used to describe any sort of trap for cockroaches.
Now get in there and test that luggage.
See above note on American Tourister. Unfortunately for the company, many people remember the ads as plugging Samsonite luggage.
What is this—Planet of the Fops?
The 1968 film Planet of the Apes—which, obviously, this movie ripped off—starred Charlton Heston as an astronaut trapped on a world where apes are the rulers and humans are the slaves.
Reese’s Peanut Butter … delicious … ow!
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are a candy made by Hershey’s consisting of a peanut butter filling surrounded by a layer of chocolate. They were introduced in the 1920s.
Then you do the hokey-pokey and turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all about. I’m outta here.
A reference to the classic kids’ song “Hokey-Pokey.” The hokey pokey has its origins in a British folk dance, with variants dating back to the early 19th century. Sample lyrics: “You put your right foot in/You put your right foot out/You put your right foot in/And you shake it all about/You do the Hokey-Pokey/And you turn yourself around/That’s what it’s all about!”
Oh, thank you, Hanuman. Can we eat now?
Hanuman is a monkey-like deity in the Hindu faith.
Now let me see if I’ve got this right: You put your right shoe in and your left shoe off and you … uh …
See previous note.
Trick or treat for UNICEF.
“Trick or Treat for UNICEF” is an annual fund-raiser for the children’s advocacy group that began in 1950; basically, instead of collecting candy, kids collect money for UNICEF. It’s been rumored that maybe, just maybe, some of the kids participating wouldn’t necessarily be 100 percent opposed to getting some candy, too.
Are those monkey boy jeans you’re wearing?
“Excuse me, are those Bugle Boy jeans that you’re wearing?” is an old advertising slogan for Bugle Boy jeans.
You know what he’s afraid of? He’s afraid he’s going to run into David Hedison going the other way.
David Hedison (1927-2019) was an actor best known for playing Captain Lee Crane on the TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, which aired from 1964-1968. He also guest-starred on a huge number of TV series during the 1970s and 1980s, including Fantasy Island and The Love Boat.
Give a hoot. Don’t pollute.
“Give a hoot, don’t pollute” is the longtime slogan of Woodsy Owl, the mascot for the US Forest Service since 1970.
Ooh, hot pants!
Riffing on James Brown’s 1971 song “Hot Pants (She Got to Use What She Got to Get What She Wants)”. Sample lyrics: “'Cause you got to use just what you got/To get just what you want-a/Hey hoo! Hot pants! Hey! Hot pants smokin'!” (Thanks to greenmonsterprod for this reference.)
No, how about a Bloody Mary?
A Bloody Mary is a cocktail consisting of vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper, and celery salt, garnished with a stalk of celery.
From the 1979 synthopop song “Pop Muzik,” by the British new wave group M. The song was covered by U2 in their 1997 PopMart tour. Sample lyrics: “New York, London, Paris, Munich/Everybody talk about pop musik/Talk about, pop musik/Talk about, pop musik/Pop pop pop pop musik …” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Ahhh, Lucy, I need a screwdriver, ahhh.
A reference to Lucille Ball, star of the TV series I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show. A screwdriver is a drink consisting of vodka and orange juice.
Tonight, on Crime Dog.
Probably a reference to McGruff the Crime Dog, mascot for the National Crime Prevention Council, who teaches children how to stay safe.
Not unless I turn myself into a boiled potato. –Veg-O-Matic action.
Veg-O-Matic by Ronco is one of the first food processors, released in 1963. “It slices! It dices!” was a tag line that has become a widely used reference in American popular culture.
Far out! Trails, man! Ooh!
People who have taken LSD sometimes experience visual distortions known as “tracers,” where moving objects leave a “trail” behind them similar to the after-image you see when you stare at a bright light.
You can tell by the way I move my stuff I’m a woman’s ape, no time for talk. Uh uh uh uh, staying erect, staying erect. Uh uh …
A paraphrase of the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” from the 1977 disco movie Saturday Night Fever. Sample lyrics: “Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk/I'm a woman's man, no time to talk....And we're stayin' alive, stayin' alive/Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive/Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive."
He looks like Teddy Ruxpin up close.
In the mid-1980s there was a craze for an animated teddy bear named Teddy Ruxpin. When you slipped a special tape cartridge into Teddy, he moved in time to the story on the tape. Eventually more than forty stories were produced.
Simian Night Fever.
In the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) haunts the disco and dreams of a life outside his native Brooklyn.
So, you’ve been to Cost Cutters again.
Cost Cutters is a chain of affordable hair salons.
That trick never works. –Nothing up my sleeve.
In a running gag in the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons, Bullwinkle would continually try to pull a rabbit out of a hat, over Rocky’s protests that the trick would fail. Bullwinkle would forge ahead regardless, replying either, “Nothing up my sleeve ... presto!” or “This time for sure ... presto!” Needless to say, the trick never turned out as planned. (Thanks to Kevin Rietmann for this reference.)
“I want to ask you one question …” Is it okay to pet on the first date?
A riff on a line in Woody Allen’s 1969 movie Take the Money and Run.
Tar? You’re soaking in it! Look at those hands.
“You’re soaking in it” was the slogan in a series of commercials for Palmolive dish soap that aired from 1966-1992, in which maternal beautician Madge the manicurist (played by Jan Miner) informs her shocked clients that they’re soaking their hands in Palmolive liquid soap.
Bedtime for Bonzo. C’mon, kids.
Bedtime for Bonzo is a legendarily bad 1951 movie starring future president Ronald Reagan as a professor who tries to teach a chimp morality.
Are you known for your work in the theater?
A common question asked of the “mystery guest” on What's My Line? (see above note).
Oh, I get it. They’re going to go catch the F train.
The F train is a subway line in Manhattan that runs between Jamaica, Queens, and Coney Island, Brooklyn. It began service in 1940.
We’re going to hide in this Jiffy Lube stand.
Jiffy Lube is a chain of oil-change centers with thousands of franchises nationwide.
“Famous Potatoes” is the slogan that appears on Idaho license plates.
Hey, I saw this in a Three Stooges movie once. Come on.
The Three Stooges were a comedy trio, with varying lineups, that appeared in more than 200 short films. They were known for extreme slapstick comedy that frequently turned quite violent.
An imitation of Curly Howard (Jerome Horwitz) of the Three Stooges (see previous note).
You know, I thought I smelled Aqua Velva.
Aqua Velva is a brand of aftershave.
[Whistled.] Colonel Bogey March.
The “Colonel Bogey March” is one of the most famous marches ever written. It was composed by Kenneth Alford in 1914 and became even more widely known after it was featured in the movie The Bridge on the River Kwai.
Hey, who’s walking on my bridge?
A reference to the 19th-century Norwegian fairy tale “Three Billy Goats Gruff.” In it, three goats of varying size attempt to cross a bridge to dine in a lush meadow, but are stopped by a troll that lives under the bridge.
It’s a Donovan video.
Donovan was a British folk singer popular in the 1960s, with such hits as “Sunshine Superman” and “Mellow Yellow.”
[Sung.] Walking in the grass … the sunlight in our hair …
Paraphrase of a line from the Donovan song “Hampstead Incident.” Actual lyrics: “Crystals sparkle in the grass, I polish them with thought/On my lash there in my eye a star of light is caught/Fortunes told in grains of sand, here I am is all I know/Candy stuck in children's hair, everywhere I go.” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Maybe it’s Ruth Buzzi and Jim Nabors.
Ruth Buzzi is a comedian best known for her appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, which aired from 1968-1973. Jim Nabors is an actor best known for playing Gomer Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show and later on its spinoff, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C. He has also had a successful singing career. The two of them appeared together on a short-lived TV series called The Lost Saucer, a kids’ show about a flying saucer produced by Sid and Marty Krofft that aired from 1975-1976.
Who do you think you are? You look like a Hostess CupCake, Pepe.
Hostess CupCakes are a chocolate snack cake with vanilla cream filling and chocolate icing, with eight white icing squiggles on top. First sold in 1919, the brand is now owned by Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.
No, no. I know what he looks like. He looks like a woodchuck that got nailed by a Splatball.
Splatball is an indoor paintball arena that has operated in Minneapolis since 1984.
“He’s an officer.” And a gentlemonkey.
An Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 film starring Richard Gere as a young man struggling to make it through a tough flight school to become a Navy pilot.
There’s some good security. Is this Watergate?
In June 1972, five men were arrested breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The widening spiral of investigation that followed led to the indictments of a number of White House aides, and it eventually became clear that President Richard M. Nixon had been involved in the attempt to cover up the White House’s involvement in the Watergate plot. He resigned in order to avoid certain impeachment by the House of Representatives.
“I couldn’t get any closer.” Didn’t have any Certs.
Certs are a brand of breath mints manufactured by Cadbury Adams. “Get Certs; get closer” is an advertising slogan for Certs from the early 1980s.
Today we’ve got three separate views of love, monkey style.
On the TV series Love, American Style, which aired from 1969-1974, there would be anywhere up to four short vignettes about love featuring various celebrity guest stars.
Give him a rug burn! Monkey pile!
A rug burn is a skin abrasion one gets from friction against a rug or carpet. As a noun, a monkey pile (also sometimes called a dog pile or a pig pile) is a pile of people—kids, usually—heaped atop one unfortunate kid on the bottom. As a verb, “Monkey pile on Joel!” is a signal to leap on your chosen victim en masse.
Monkey in a blanket.
A pig in a blanket is an appetizer consisting of a small hot dog or Vienna sausage wrapped in biscuit or bread dough and baked. They are commonly dipped in mustard or another sauce. There’s also a breakfast version: breakfast sausage links wrapped in pancakes and dipped in maple syrup.
That kid looks like Roseanne.
Roseanne Barr is a comedian who starred in her own TV sitcom, Roseanne, from 1988-1997, in which she played a blue-collar mother struggling to keep her family together. The show was briefly revived in 2018 before being canceled over a racist tweet posted by its star.
Is he going to tell people he spilled Nair on his face?
Nair is a brand of hair removal products made by Church & Dwight Co.
Neil Peart on drums.
Neil Peart (1952-2020) was the drummer and primary lyricist for the Canadian rock band Rush. Peart was admired by peers, fans, and music journalists for his technical skill in the studio, and his strength and precision in concert. He also wrote several non-fiction books about his life and travels. Peart died of an aggressive form of brain cancer (glioblastoma) at age 67.
NOTE: The following annotations are supplied by guest annotator Erik Topp. Let’s all give him a hand!
People try to put us d-d-down …
Line from the Who song “My Generation,” off their 1965 album of the same name. Sample lyrics: “People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)/Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) …”
Talk about pop music. –Everybody talk about, talk about …
See note on “Pop Muzik,” above.
Sounds like a Lovin’ Spoonful song, doesn’t it? –Yeah. –Sure does. –The good time.
The Lovin’ Spoonful was a pop rock band formed in 1965, featuring John Sebastian as lead singer and principle songwriter. They released several top ten hits, including “Do You Believe in Magic?” and “Summer in the City,” before they broke up in 1968. “Good Time Music” was originally recorded by the Lovin’ Spoonful in 1965; a version recorded that same year by The Beau Brummels also was a minor hit. Sample lyrics: “With that Good Time Music/Like we played so long ago, don't you know/With that Good Time Music/Yes, it's back on the radio.”
He really shocked the monkey.
“Shock the Monkey” is a song by Peter Gabriel. Sample lyrics: “Something knocked me out the trees/Now I’m on my knees/Cover me, darling please/Monkey, monkey, monkey/Don’t you know you’re going to shock the monkey …”
The Weatherball flash is green … –No plot foreseen.
A parody of a jingle for the Northwestern National Bank Weatherball in downtown Minneapolis. From 1949 to 1982, the illuminated Weatherball used a color code to indicate the next day’s weather forecast. The actual line is, “When the Weatherball is wearing green, no weather changes are foreseen.”
Sounds like Johnny One Note on his Emenee Magic Key organ.
“Johnny One Note” is a song from the 1932 Rodgers and Hart musical Babes in Arms. Emenee Industries made toy musical instruments, especially organs, in the late ‘60s.
Hello. –Hello. –Hey, where’s the other guy?
See note on the Three Stooges, above.
“There’s a guard there!” An elite Republican Guard.
Better led, better trained, and better equipped than most of the Iraqi armed forces, the Republican Guard was noted for its loyalty to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who relied on it to suppress dissent in other units of the armed forces and among the civilian population. The Guard was dissolved in 2003, along with the rest of the Iraqi army, after the Iraq War.
"What are you doing here?" That’s what you’re doing here. Thank you, have a nice day … Thank you for shopping at Wal-Mart!
Wal-Mart is the largest chain of retail stores in the United States. The first store was opened in 1962 by Sam Walton, offering discount merchandise at low prices. Walton opened many of his stores in small towns, where they often drove local merchants out of business by undercutting their prices. By the time of Walton’s death in 1992, there were more than 1,700 Wal-Mart stores.
Ricky Schroder in The Champ.
Ricky Schroder is an actor who debuted in the 1979 film The Champ, a Franco Zeffirelli-directed film about a retired boxer (Jon Voight) who stages a comeback to provide for his son (Schroder). Schroder went on to star in the sitcom Silver Spoons, the acclaimed western miniseries Lonesome Dove and the cop drama NYPD Blue.
“An ape is still an ape!” An ape by any other name would smell as bad.
A paraphrase of lines from Juliet’s soliloquy from her window in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.”
See above note on Evil Dead.
The Blue and the Gray.
The Blue & the Gray is a 1982 TV miniseries that related events of the Civil War through the experiences of a war correspondent.
The apes of the Old West. That’s John Wesley Ape. He once flung crap at a man just for snoring too loud.
In an old Time-Life commercial that ran during the 1970s to advertise their series of Old West books, the voiceover talked about a man who was “so mean he once shot a man just for snoring.” The man in question was John Wesley Hardin (1853-1895), a Texas outlaw who killed at least 21 men between 1868 and 1877, when he was sent to prison. He was pardoned in 1894 and shot in the back of the head by an El Paso policeman the following year. In Hardin’s autobiography, published posthumously, he bragged about having killed a man in his hotel room in Abilene, shooting twice through the wall to get the man to stop snoring.
Apes is filmed live on location in Deadwood, South Dakota.
The announcer for Cops, the long-running reality TV show, says during the opening, “Cops is filmed on location with the men and women of law enforcement.” Deadwood, South Dakota, was a wild frontier town that boomed during the Black Hills gold rush. Wild Bill Hickok was murdered there while playing poker in 1876. The HBO series Deadwood, which originally ran from 2004 to 2006, covers all that.
Depends ready, sir.
Depend undergarments are a brand of adult incontinence products first sold in 1984; the brand is owned by Kimberly-Clark.
It’s the wackiest war in the Congo.
The Wackiest Ship in the Army is a 1960 film starring Jack Lemmon as a lieutenant who takes command of a ship full of misfits during World War II. The movie later served as the basis for a short-lived 1965 television series.
McHale’s Navy Goes to the Planet of the Apes on today’s matinee movie.
McHale’s Navy was a TV sitcom about a group of bumbling misfits aboard a PT boat in World War II. It starred Ernest Borgnine as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale. The show aired from 1962-1966. Also see above note on Planet of the Apes.
Hey look! Caddyshack! Oh, no, that’s Pepe.
Caddyshack is a 1980 comedy set in an exclusive golf club. One of the subplots centered on the activities of a mischievous gopher.
Halt! Who goes there? Who played Dr. Zaius in Planet of the Apes?
Dr. Zaius was one of the intelligent apes in Planet of the Apes (see above note); the part was played by Maurice Evans.
Well, it was about this time that the old ape boys got themselves into a heap of trouble over at the Cooter’s Place. See, they were pickin’ nits off each other and …
An imitation of the folksy narrator from the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, which ran from 1979-1985. The narrator, dubbed “The Balladeer,” was played by country-music artist Waylon Jennings, who also performed the show’s theme song, “Good Ol’ Boys.” Cooter Davenport (played by Ben Jones) was the mechanic on the show.
“Gaybor might catch up to us.” Zsa Zsa Ga-bor?
Zsa Zsa Gabor (1917-2016) was a socialite and actress, but she’s better known for having had nine husbands. She was (briefly) married to hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders, who supplied the voice of Shere Khan in Disney's The Jungle Book. For the last 30 years of her life, she was married to Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt; it was his seventh marriage.
Oh, no, no, no—she’s still doing community service.
In 1989, Gabor got into a legal kerfuffle when she slapped a Beverly Hills police officer after he pulled her over for a traffic stop. She was fined and sentenced to three days in jail and 120 hours of community service. Gabor soon found herself back in court, accused of inflating her community service hours. The judge ordered her to complete her full sentence, plus an additional 60 hours.
It’s a little old Devo hat. Those spudboys are everywhere.
Devo is a geek-rock proto-new-wave band known for their bizarre costumes (such as their flowerpot hat) and stage antics. “Spudboys” is an affectionate term for both Devo fans and band members. It comes from a line in their 1979 song “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA”: "Afraid that no one around me/Understands my potato/Think I'm only a spudboy/Looking for a real tomato."
Hey, where’d you get the Beamer, monkey dude?
BMW, Bayerische Motoren Werke (in English, "Bavarian Motor Works"), is a German car company established in 1916 by Franz Josef Popp. In the 1980s, the brand became synonymous with the yuppie crowd, and their nickname for the car, “Beamer,” persists to this day.
“It’s a madhouse! A madhouse!” is a line from Planet of the Apes, spoken by Charlton Heston.
“Let us through! Let us through!” Oswald’s been shot!
On November 24, 1963, local nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot JFK assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of a Dallas police station, while Oswald was being transferred to the county jail. To reach the basement, Ruby walked down a car ramp.
I wear the Hathaway shirts.
C.F. Hathaway Company was a maker of men's dress shirts, founded in 1937. A long-running ad campaign that began in 1951 featured "the Hathaway Man," a well-dressed aristocrat with an eyepatch (Baron George Wrangell, who first played the character, had perfect vision). In 2002, Hathaway folded its operations.
Home? Where my thoughts escape me? Home? Where I comb my facey?
A parody of the 1966 Simon and Garfunkel song “Homeward Bound.” Sample lyrics: “Home, where my thought’s escaping/Home, where my music’s playing/Home, where my love lies waiting/Silently for me …”
Lassie was a hyperintelligent collie who starred in an eponymous TV series, which aired from 1954-1974, as well as a series of movies. The original Lassie, Pal, can be seen in Show 510, The Painted Hills.
Uh, excuse me, ma’am. Brawny wants his shirt back.
Since 1974, rolls of Brawny paper towels have featured the smiling visage of a rugged yet handsome outdoorsman, presumably a logger for Georgia Pacific.
“Pepe, I couldn’t imagine what had happened to you.” I’ve become a man, mother.
In the 1938 John Steinbeck short story “Flight,” a character named Pepe returns home to his mother after a murderous bar brawl, and tells her, “I am a man now, Mama.” In fact, Pepe makes the declaration “I am a man” no fewer than four times in the story.
Aw, and it’s Toots Thielemans on the mouth harp, too.
Jean “Toots” Thielemans (1922-2016) was a Belgian harmonica player whose music has been featured in such films as Hard Rain (1998) and Jean de Florette (1986).
[Pepe running in slow motion, then freeze frame.] (Shooting noises.) Should we have shot her that many times?
Riffing on the final scene in the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Butch (Paul Newman) and Sundance (Robert Redford) attempt to flee surrounding soldiers, unaware of how many heavily armed soldiers there actually are. The film freeze-frames on them running, accompanied by the sounds of massive gunfire. (Thanks to clarkkers for this reference.)
BJ? Hawkeye? Trapper John?
Characters from the TV show M*A*S*H (see above note). B.J. Hunnicutt was played by Mike Farrell; Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce was played by Alan Alda; “Trapper” John McIntyre was played by Wayne Rogers.
I made snacks. I hope you like pizza rolls.
Pizza rolls are an item available in your grocer’s freezer invented by frozen food visionary Jeno Paulucci in 1951. Paulucci had founded the Chun King line of packaged Asian foods, and came up with the idea of re-tooling eggroll manufacturing machines to produce bite-sized pizza rolls. Jeno’s Pizza Rolls were sold to Pillsbury in 1985, which rebranded them as Totino’s Pizza Rolls in 1993. Pizza rolls have gained a firm standing on the guilty pleasure lists of junk food fans, thanks to parodies on Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present), and their popularity among children and college students.
It’s Don Knotts in the Shakiest Ape in the West.
The Shakiest Gun in the West is a 1968 comic western starring Don Knotts as a dentist who unwittingly becomes a gunfighter.
Get back to the Ponderosa and tell Hoss we’re in trouble, and get me some chicken-fried steak!
The Ponderosa was the name of the ranch on the TV show Bonanza, which aired from 1959-1973. Eric “Hoss” Cartwright was the middle son of the ranch owner, who was played by Dan Blocker until his death in 1972. Dan Blocker founded the Bonanza Steakhouse chain in 1963, which merged with the very similar Ponderosa Steakhouse chain in 1997. The Bonanza chain had around 600 restaurants by the late 1980s, but that number has plummeted to a combined total of around 36 locations, all in the upper Midwest or eastern United States. While both chains offer buffet and dine-in selections including steak, ribs, seafood and salads, chicken fried steak—an American dish associated with the South, consisting of beefsteak coated in seasoned flour and pan-fried, similar to the method for making fried chicken, hence the name—doesn’t appear to be on the menu.
My name is Inigo Montoya.
In the 1987 film The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya endlessly recites the speech he will give to the man who killed his father, the six-fingered Count Rugen: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
He’s doing a scene from Lear.
King Lear is a Shakespeare tragedy about a king driven mad by his daughters’ ingratitude; it has a famous scene (Act III, Scene 2) in which Lear raves on the heath during a storm.
“I must have my revenge!” And you must have your Valium too, buddy. Calm down.
Valium is a tranquilizer that was widely prescribed during the 1970s until some patients began experiencing problems with addiction and others suffered significant side effects.
He’s waiting for Godo, I think. Godot.
See above note on Waiting for Godot.
It’s the House on the Rock.
From the ACEG: “The House on the Rock, located outside Spring Green, Wisconsin, is that state’s most popular and blatant tourist attraction. It’s a huge place built atop a sixty-foot rock, filled with bizarre stuff like massive ‘band organs’ (frightening automated music machines featuring creepy figurines); the world’s largest model whale; the world’s largest carousel; and on and on in room after room. … Spring Green is also the site of Taliesin, home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Jordan built his monstrosity partly as a conscious insult to Wright.” (Thanks to Kevin Rietmann for this reference.)
Live, damn it, live! You never gave up on anything in your life, now live!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1989 movie The Abyss, starring Ed Harris and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The actual line, spoken by Harris as he’s trying to resuscitate the drowned Mastrantonio: “Goddamn it, you bitch! You never backed away from anything in your life! Now fight! Fight! Fiiiight!”
Oh, it’s Earl Warren’s “Single Ape” theory.
Earl Warren served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1953-1969. He also chaired the Warren Commission, the presidential commission assigned to investigate the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The Commission determined that a single bullet struck Kennedy in the back and exited through his throat before hitting Connally in the back; it then exited through Connally’s chest and broke his right wrist before lodging shallowly in his thigh. Conspiracy theorists have referred to this sarcastically as the “magic bullet” theory, arguing that the bullet, which was recovered at the hospital, could not appear nearly as pristine as it did if it had caused all that damage. They use this to bolster their argument that there was more than one shooter at Dealey Plaza that day. (Thanks to Basil for the single bullet theory reference.)
Hurts, don’t it? Bye!
According to Mike Nelson, the frequently used riff “Hurts, don’t it? Tell your friends” is a reference to a scene in the 1989 Patrick Swayze movie (and MST3K writer’s room favorite) Road House. Mike calls it “Casablanca-style-quoting,” meaning it sounded right, but not actually word-for-word from the movie. In Road House, the character Wade kicks a bad guy, then says “Goddamn, that hurts, doesn’t it?” Mike describes the “Tell your friends” line as a more “generic cliché.”
I did it! I finally did it! Damn me all to hell!
A paraphrase of Charlton Heston’s final lines from Planet of the Apes. Actual lines: “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time, it was … We finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!”
Meanwhile, at the Ford Falcon with the vibraslap option …
The Ford Falcon is a discontinued model of car from the Ford Motor Co. A vibraslap is an instrument that uses a wooden ball and box connected by a metal bar to make a rattling noise.
Hurry it up. I’ve got to do Lincoln at the Globe Theatre.
Actor Hal Holbrook (1925-2021) was known for playing Mark Twain in one-man shows (in a white suit) since 1954 and for starring in the 1974 TV miniseries Lincoln, about the sixteenth president, natch. The Globe Theatre was a large, multi-story London playhouse built in 1599 by William Shakespeare's play company. In 1613, it burned down, thanks to a cannon used in a performance of Henry VIII. It was rebuilt in 1614 and closed in 1642 when the Puritans came into power. In 1997, a recreation was built and named Shakespeare's Globe near the original theatre's site.
Kmart? –The savings place?
Kmart is a discount store chain started in 1962 by Sebastian Kresge. The Kmart slogan “The saving place” dates back to the 1970s. In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy, and in 2004, they merged with Sears, Roebuck & Co.
I don’t feel very good. I’m going to go rent Faces of Death.
Faces of Death is a controversial 1978 American film depicting explicit scenes of death and violence, some taken from news or police footage, others staged. Some 40% of the footage is admittedly fake, while other scenes, such as the aftermath of traffic accidents, are quite genuine. There were five sequels, the last of which merely recycled footage from the previous films. One particularly bizarre (faked) scene involved tourists in Egypt enjoying a “local delicacy”: they split open the head of a live monkey and consumed the brain (which was really cauliflower covered with theatrical blood) directly from the skull.
Oh, Lou, Lou ...
An imitation of Ted Baxter sobbing to his boss, Lou Grant, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which aired from 1970-1977. (Thanks to Kevin Rietmann for this reference.)
A stranger in a strange land.
Stranger in a Strange Land was the title of Robert A. Heinlein’s best-selling 1961 science fiction novel. The phrase itself comes from Exodus 2:22: “And she bore him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.”
She’s not going to start singing “Ebony and Ivory,” is she?
“Ebony and Ivory” is a 1982 hit single by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder that commends the piano keyboard as a model of racial harmony.
Wait a minute! It’s Darren McGavin! –I knew it!
Actor Darren McGavin is best known for his performance as the title character in the short-lived 1974 TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker and as the father in the 1983 film A Christmas Story. He also appears in Show K19, Hanger 18. (Thanks to sleepyhollow783 for the Hanger 18 mention.)
“I don’t know how to express our gratitude.” How about a Hickory Farms gift box?
Hickory Farms is a mail-order specialty foods company that specializes in perfunctory gift baskets of processed meat and dairy products.
I’ve got to get this outfit back to Prince.
See note on Prince, above. In addition to the color purple, Prince was fond of ruffled shirts, metallic fabrics, shoulder pads, wide lapels, and other expressions of 1980s excess.
Any of you guys ever been to the Dells? This kind of reminds me of it.
Wisconsin Dells is a city in south central Wisconsin, popular as a Midwestern tourist destination. Often known as just “The Dells,” the place became divided in 1908 into the Upper and Lower Dells when Kilbourn Dam was constructed on the Wisconsin River. The Dells is home to numerous waterparks, go carts, miniature golf courses, regular golf courses, and a host of other icons of wholesome family fun.
Ride the ducks.
“Ever been to The Dells? Let’s ride the ducks” came in at #7 in The Fifty Most Obscure References in The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, referring to The Dells as “that paradise of water playlands, that miniature golf hot-bed …” The Wisconsin Duck Tours offers amphibious tours of the Dells on land and in the Wisconsin River; it has been operating since 1946.
Well, put your thumbs out. Maybe you can hitch a ride.
In Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book series, characters frequently escape danger by sticking out an electronic thumb and hitching a ride on a passing spaceship.
It’s a U-Store-It!
U-Store-It (now called CubeSmart) is a chain of self-storage facilities, boasting around 37,000 locations nationwide.
Again with the feet!
A paraphrase of a line in the Neil Simon play The Sunshine Boys, about two feuding vaudevillians: “Again with the finger!”
Miles Davis is in there.
Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis (1926-1991) played a seminal role in jazz movements in the 1950s and 1960s and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century.
Beware of the Balrog.
In The Fellowship of the Ring, the first book of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic fantasy trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the wizard confronts a demonic creature called a Balrog deep under the earth in the mines of Moria; Tolkien describes it as a being of shadow and flame.
Isn’t that from Lord of the Rings?
Yes. Yes it is.
We all of a sudden have leather lace-up boots and eight-sided dice?
The Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game uses variously shaped dice to determine events as the adventure unfolds.
This week only at the Omnitheater!
The 1978 expansion of the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul housed three new exhibit halls and the new William L. McKnight-3M Omnitheater.
It’s the Joshua Light Show!
The Joshua Light Show is a psychedelic visual effects display used by many bands during shows in the late 1960s/early 1970s. The effect is created by projecting light through a gently agitated pool of immiscible colored liquids.
Are we in the left ventricle?
Fantastic Voyage is an Academy Award-winning 1966 sci-fi film about a group of scientists aboard a submarine-like vehicle who are shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a man to treat a blood clot in his brain. Their voyage includes a detour through the man’s heart by way of the left ventricle.
[Sung.] Sandy Frank … Sandy Frank …
Kevin Murphy said in an interview that the Sandy Frank episodes stopped airing not because Frank was offended but because they couldn’t afford to renew the rights for the films.
I’m Frances Farmer!
Frances Farmer was a glamorous actress who appeared in a number of movies during the 1930s. However, she had a notorious temper, an abrasive personality, and a problem with alcohol. During the 1940s she was repeatedly hospitalized for mental illness, although in retrospect it is unclear just how mentally ill she was.
“Catherine! Johnny!” Catherine’s Vivien Leigh and Johnny is John Berryman now.
Actress Vivien Leigh struggled with the effects of bipolar disorder throughout her adult life. John Berryman was a poet and professor of literature. He struggled with depression and alcohol abuse for years before his suicide in 1972.
Fashions by Issey Miyake! –And it shows!
Issey Miyake is a Japanese clothing designer known for his high-tech designs.
Hey, it's a scene from The Miracle Worker!
The Miracle Worker is a teleplay by William Gibson about the relationship between Ann Sullivan and her deaf and blind pupil, Helen Keller. It was later made into a Broadway play and a feature film.
[Imitating.] Wath! Wath!
An imitation of Patty Duke as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker.
Oh no! It's Anthony Braxton and Don Cherry! Run!
Anthony Braxton is a prolific avant-garde composer and musician given to using diagrams for the titles of his works. Don Cherry (1936-1995) was a jazz trumpeter known for his improvisational style. He was a central figure in the world fusion movement.
It's William Conrad for First Alert!
See note on First Alert, above. William Conrad is best remembered as the narrator of Rocky and Bullwinkle and for the detective shows Cannon and Jake and the Fatman.
This is like an Obsession commercial: If I'm an ape, then pronounce me guilty! –Between apes and men lies Obsession.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Calvin Klein ran a series of pretentious, artsy Obsession perfume ads with taglines like “If Obsession is a sin, let me be guilty” and “Between love and madness lies ... Obsession.” They still use the latter slogan today.
My brother lives in Florida.
A reference to Show 305, Stranded in Space.
Do you know where Buffy and Cissy are?
Buffy and Cissy were two of the orphaned kids on the TV show Family Affair, which aired from 1966 to 1971. It starred Brian Keith as “Uncle” Bill Davis, a carefree swinging bachelor who suddenly found himself in custody of three orphans (the third was Jody), whom he cared for with the assistance of his supercilious valet, Mr. French.
James Bond is the urbane secret agent created by British author Ian Fleming and immortalized in a lengthy series of movies by Sean Connery, Roger Moore, and others. An iconic image in the films shows Bond silhouetted at the center of a gun barrel.
[Sung.] James Bond theme.
The theme, which accompanies the gun barrel sequence, was written by Monty Norman and arranged by John Barry.
Hey, it's the guys from Clockwork Orange. The droogs.
In Anthony Burgess’s 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange, bands of foppishly dressed thugs called “droogs” roam the streets of Britain in a dystopian vision of 1995. Stanley Kubrick adapted the work for film in 1971.
No, no, no. I think it's a group of Castro impersonators.
Fidel Castro (1922-2016) was the longtime socialist leader of Cuba. After his revolutionary army took power from dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1959, he began cutting rents for the poor, nationalizing industries, accepting aid from the Soviet Union, and in general getting up the nose of the stridently anti-Communist United States. In 2008 he formally transferred power to his brother Raúl.
Our Mystery Guest is … who’s that?
See above note on What’s My Line?
See note on Roseanne, above. Roseanne attracted heavy criticism for her deliberately awful rendition of the national anthem in 1990.
“Only seven days?” In May.
Seven Days in May, a 1962 novel by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II, tells the story of a planned coup d’état by the U.S. military to avoid disarmament under a treaty with the Soviet Union. A film version was released in 1964.
“It’s the truth!” [Edith Ann raspberry sound.]
Edith Ann is a character created by comedian and actress Lily Tomlin: a precocious five-year-old who waxes philosophically about the absurdities of the adults in her life, ending her monologues by saying “And that’s the truth!” followed by a raspberry.
“I have data that corroborates your story.” He’s now working for Star Trek.
Lieutenant Commander Data, played by Brent Spiner, was the pale-skinned android crew member on the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation, which aired from 1987-1994.
He must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.
“I should have taken that left toin at Albukoykee” is a famous catchphrase of Bugs Bunny, star of the long-running series of animated shorts by Warner Brothers. He was created in the 1930s by a team of animators including Friz Freleng, Chuck Jones, and Tex Avery and voiced by longtime WB voice artist Mel Blanc. He is one of the most popular and enduring animated characters of all time, rivaled only by Mickey Mouse.
I’m my own grandfather.
The "Grandfather Paradox" was a time travel conundrum proposed in 1943 by sci-fi author René Barjavel in his book Le Voyageur Imprudent (Future Times Three). In it, Barjavel suggested that a man who goes back in time, meets his grandfather before his father was conceived, and kills him will cease to exist. Variations of this paradox have been used in science fiction literature and entertainment ever since. A variant on this paradox is a version in which the character somehow winds up becoming his own grandfather. The 2001 episode of Futurama "Roswell That Ends Well" pretty much embodies this riff, as lead character Philip Fry travels back in time, accidentally kills his grandfather, and is seduced by his grandmother, thus becoming his own grandfather. Robert Heinlein's short story "All You Zombies" goes even further: through a wildly complex series of time-travel journeys, the main character is revealed to be every single person in the story.
[Sung.] Sandy Frank … Sandy Frank … gads about the house all day …
Sandy Frank also produced the hit game show Name That Tune.