by Wyn Hilty
I’m Dairy Council intolerant.
The American Dairy Association, which also owns the name National Dairy Council, provides educational material and informational kits all about dairy products and the fine dietary properties they offer. They also provide information about lactose intolerance, which is an inability to digest the sugar found in milk and other dairy products, causing all manner of nasty gastrointestinal upsets.
Is Velveeta a member of the National Dairy Council?
Velveeta is a processed cheese product manufactured by Kraft Foods. See previous note.
[Name in credits.] Ladies and gentlemen … Mrs. Loretta Doyle.
Loretta Lynn is an American country singer-songwriter with a career that spans five decades. In her concert performances, she is traditionally introduced by an offstage announcer who says, somewhat solemnly, “Ladies and gentlemen … Miss Loretta Lynn.”
[Sung.] I was warned as a child …
A line from the song “The Woman in the Moon,” from the musical A Star Is Born. Sample lyrics: “I was warned as a child of thirteen/Not to act too strong/Try to look like you belong but don’t push, girl/Save your time and trouble/Don't misbehave.” This is also possibly a riff on Loretta Lynn’s (see previous note) youthful marriage: though biographies now state that she was married at age fifteen, earlier accounts of her life say she wed when she was just thirteen years old.
Here in frame 54, Mr. Connally is struck by the bullet.
In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, a local clothing manufacturer named Abraham Zapruder brought his home movie camera to film the motorcade procession. His is the only film record of the assassination and was extensively used by the Warren Commission in its investigation of the president’s death. Then-Texas Governor John Connally was riding in Kennedy’s limousine and was badly injured by the same bullet that struck the president.
Let’s go tip some cattle!
Cow tipping is apparently a favorite nocturnal sport among rural folks who have consumed between five and seven beers. Opinion is divided on just how prevalent and/or possible the practice is, but your basic cow tipping expedition goes something like this:
1. Chug aforesaid beers.
2. Find a field containing some dozing cows (which sleep standing up).
3. Climb over fence.
4. Sneak up on cow.
5. Push on cow’s side.
“Ganj” is short for “ganja,” which is the Jamaican word for marijuana.
Now Junior Samples and Lulu Belle make their appearance.
Junior Samples (1926-1983) was a cornball comedian/country singer/harmonica player known for his long run on Hee Haw, the country-western variety show that aired from 1969-1992; Samples appeared on the show until his death in 1983. Lulu Belle (real name Myrtle Cooper; 1913-1999) was a country musician who performed for decades with her husband, Scott Wiseman (1908-1981), as “Lulu Belle and Scotty.” Later in life she became a state representative for North Carolina, serving from 1975-1978. The writers may have meant Lulu Roman, a singer and comedian who actually was a regular on Hee Haw.
I’ve got to be careful of my new jeans because I got them at Pamida.
Pamida was a chain of department stores that had more than 175 locations in the Midwestern United States, mostly in small towns. Founded in 1963, the last Pamida stores closed in 2012. The name was a combination of the first two letters in the names of co-founder Jim Witherspoon’s three sons: Pat, Mike, and David.
Tonight on ESPN2: Hayloft rope swinging.
ESPN is a cable sports channel. ESPN2 began airing in 1993 as a sister station; it focused on younger, edgier sports like snowboarding and BMX racing. When that formula failed, it turned to poker, billiards, and extreme sports.
The summer of my German humiliation.
Summer of My German Soldier is a novel by Bette Green about a young Jewish girl in Arkansas during World War II, who falls in love with a German prisoner of war being held in a nearby camp.
A very special Ziffel family reunion.
Fred and Doris Ziffel were characters on the TV sitcom Green Acres, which aired from 1965-1971. The couple (played by Hank Patterson and Barbara Pepper) had an adopted “son,” Arnold the hyperintelligent pig. Television promos promising “a very special” episode of a sitcom or drama are a tip-off that the show will be tackling a social issue, such as underage drinking or eating disorders. Characters will learn a valuable lesson. There will be hugs.
Oh, the lunch counter at Tom and Rosie’s diner.
Actors Tom and Roseanne Arnold jointly invested in a restaurant in Eldon, Iowa, called Tom’s Big Food Diner. After their divorce, the restaurant closed.
[Sung.] Then one foggy Christmas Eve, Santa came to say …
A line from the Christmas song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” first recorded by Gene Autry in 1949. Sample lyrics: “Then one foggy Christmas Eve/Santa came to say/‘Rudolph with your nose so bright/Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?’”
Jerry Lee Lewis joins the family for dinner.
Jerry Lee Lewis is a musician known for such hits as “Great Balls of Fire,” and also for having married his thirteen-year-old cousin, a scandal that almost ruined his career.
Susie drains the last of her Dirty Banana.
A Dirty Banana is a shake made with vanilla ice cream and several varieties of liqueur, including banana liqueur.
Back home, a Hershey’s truck has overturned and everyone’s getting all the free chocolate they want.
The Hershey Company, based in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is the largest chocolate company in the world. In addition to its trademark chocolate bar, the company makes Hershey’s Kisses, Almond Joy, Kit Kats and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, among many more.
Uncle Jim’s outta control—we frag him today.
“Fragging” is the act of soldiers assassinating their own commanding officer, usually because he is seen as incompetent or leading them into danger. The term comes from “fragmentation grenade” and originated during the Vietnam War, where gung-ho but inexperienced lieutenants were often put in command of platoons of battle-hardened soldiers, a combination that did not lead to confidence in leadership. It's estimated that around 900-1,000 fragging incidents took place in Vietnam, but very few were prosecuted, as they were easily concealed as battlefield errors, sabotage, or enemy actions.
Let my people go!
From Exodus 8:1: “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me.”
Elsie and I are in love and you can’t stop us.
Elsie the Cow is the cartoon mascot of the Borden Dairy Company. Introduced in 1936, Elsie was named one of the top ten advertising icons of the 20th century by Advertising Age magazine. Her cartoon “mate” is Elmer the Bull, the mascot of Elmer’s glue. Try not to think too much about what glue is made of.
Why, Uncle Jim’s even enrolled them in the Posse Comitatus.
Posse Comitatus is a radical anti-government movement, the forerunner of the militia movement of the 1990s. Posse Comitatus’s members believe that any form of government above the county level is illegitimate. Many of them refuse to pay taxes or obtain driver’s licenses and argue that U.S. currency is invalid because it has gone off the gold standard.
My Jam Handy!
A riff on “Jim Dandy” (a.k.a. “Jim Dandy to the Rescue”), an R&B song written by Lincoln Chase and originally recorded in 1958 by LaVern Baker. Southern rock group Black Oak Arkansas released a popular cover of it in 1973; their lead singer, Jim Mangrum, goes by the nickname “Jim Dandy” Mangrum. The Jam Handy Organization was a prolific producer and distributor of educational films, also called “social guidance” films, from 1935-1968. Founded by former Olympic swimmer Henry Jamison “Jam” Handy, numerous Jam Handy productions have found a home on MST3K, including Hired! (Show 423, Bride of the Monster & Show 424, Manos, The Hands of Fate), The Selling Wizard (Show 603, The Dead Talk Back), and Young Man’s Fancy (Show 610, The Violent Years). The MST3K Special Edition DVD of Manos: The Hands of Fate features a documentary on the history of the Jam Handy Organization.
That’s the Edvard Munch painting that wasn’t stolen.
In 1994, a version of The Scream, the most famous work by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, was stolen off the wall of the national art museum in Oslo; it was recovered unharmed several months later. Poor Munch is a frequent victim of art thefts; another version of The Scream (there are four total) was taken from a museum at gunpoint in 2004, and three other paintings were taken from an upscale restaurant in Norway in 2005.
Looks like Ivan Lendl.
Ivan Lendl was one of the dominant professional tennis players in the 1980s, for several years ranked number one in the world. Before retiring in 1994, he had racked up nearly a hundred singles titles, including eight Grand Slam titles, and earned a record $21 million in prize money.
You know, this is exactly how Leakey found Lucy.
Louis Leakey (1903-1972) was an anthropologist famous for his paleontology work in the Olduvai Gorge, an area in Tanzania. There he discovered bones that appeared to belong to a proto-human, or ape-like person. His work radically altered the body of thought about human evolution, and his conclusion that humanity originated in Africa is now widely accepted. His son, Richard Leakey, is also a well-known paleoanthropologist. That said, the hominid skeleton dubbed Lucy, after the Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” was not one of Leakey’s finds; she was discovered in 1974 by American anthropologist Donald Johanson.
This is the best Saul Bass credit sequence ever!
Saul Bass (1920-1996) was a graphic designer known for his work on movie title sequences; he worked with such renowned directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, and Martin Scorsese. His films include Psycho, Casino, and The Man with the Golden Arm. He also designed a number of corporate logos, including the famous AT&T “globe.”
The big Cunha.
“The big kahuna” is a slang phrase meaning “the big cheese,” or “a very important person.” It derives from surfer slang, which in turn derives from the Hawaiian word for priest or shaman.
Fellas, it’s too rough to feed you.
A riff on some lyrics from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” a 1976 song by Canadian singer-songwriter Gordon Lightfoot. A number-one hit in the U.S. and Canada, the song commemorates the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, an ore freighter and the longest ship operating in the Great Lakes at that time. On November 10, 1975, “Big Fitz” encountered extreme weather conditions, broke apart, and sank in Lake Superior, killing all twenty-nine crew members. The pertinent lyrics: “When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck/Sayin’ ‘Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya’/At seven p.m. a main hatchway caved in/He said, ‘Fellas, it’s been good to know ya’.”
It’s the Exxon Valdez.
On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker carrying 53 million gallons of crude oil from Alaska, ran aground on a reef, spilling nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The captain had been drinking earlier in the day, and the third mate who was on duty when the accident occurred may have been working for as long as 18 hours straight. Roughly 1,300 miles of beach were contaminated, and estimates of wildlife killed by the spill include 250,000 birds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs. Cleanup efforts cost more than $2 billion.
[Sung.] I say Brandy, you’re a fine girl …
A reference to the song “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass. Sample lyrics: “The sailor said ‘Brandy, you’re a fine girl’ (you’re a fine girl)/’What a good wife you would be’ (such a fine girl)/’But my life, my love and my lady is the sea …’”
Chutes and Ladders.
Chutes and Ladders is a board game produced by Milton Bradley; it is based on the children’s game Snakes and Ladders, which has been around since at least the 19th century and possibly long before that.
I’m glad I brought my bolero jacket.
A bolero jacket is a short, tailored women’s jacket kind of like a vest with sleeves, the sides of which only meet at one point.
Robert Maxwell: the untold story.
Robert Maxwell (1923-1991) was a British publishing tycoon. At one point he owned several book publishing companies, a string of British tabloids, the New York Daily News, and many more companies. However, by the 1990s he was in shaky financial circumstances and used $1.2 billion he secretly siphoned off from employee pension funds and other sources in an attempt to keep his empire from crumbling. On November 5, 1991, he disappeared off his yacht, and his body was recovered from the Atlantic some time later. The official cause of death was a heart attack plus accidental drowning.
I’ll just run up to the Lido deck and see what Isaac is doing.
Isaac Washington was the bartender on the TV series The Love Boat, which aired from 1977-1986. The part was played by Ted Lange. In Great Britain, a Lido is a swimming pool and the surrounding facilities, or a part of a beach where swimming and sunbathing are allowed. On a cruise ship, the Lido deck is where you’ll find the swimming pool, water slides, Jacuzzis, and the like.
Time to visit the poop deck, if you know what I mean.
On a ship, the poop deck (from the French word poupe, meaning stern, or rear) is the deck that forms the roof of the cabin toward the back end of the ship.
Wait, you forgot Tallulah Bankhead!
Lifeboat is a 1944 movie starring Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) as one of the survivors of a German U-boat attack. The film was directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
The cruise of wine and roses.
The Days of Wine and Roses is a 1962 film starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick as a couple torn apart by alcoholism.
Oh, no, they forgot the piano!
The Piano is a 1993 film starring Holly Hunter as a woman who refuses to speak, and who communicates only through the music she plays on her piano. At the beginning of the film, Hunter’s new husband abandons her piano on the beach, where it is claimed by their neighbor (played by Harvey Keitel).
Tonight: love in the landing at Normandy!
On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces launched a major assault on Hitler’s forces in France with an amphibious landing on the beaches in Normandy: D-Day. Many of the beaches where the Allied troops waded ashore were heavily fortified by the Germans, and casualties were horrendous. A furious fight raged through northern France for the following two months, concluding with the liberation of Paris in August.
Hey, a counter worker from Long John Silver’s.
Long John Silver’s is a chain of fast-food fish restaurants founded in 1969. It has more than 1,200 locations worldwide.
Linguine is a kind of pasta, a little wider than spaghetti, but not quite as wide as fettuccine. This might also be a nod to a scene in the 1968 comedy The Odd Couple, starring Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison and Jack Lemmon as Felix Unger. The dialogue:
Oscar: Now kindly remove that spaghetti from my poker table.
Oscar: The hell’s so funny?
Felix: It’s not spaghetti, it’s linguine.
[Oscar picks up the linguine and throws it violently against the wall.]
Oscar: Now it’s garbage.
Unfortunately, they landed on Bikini Atoll in 1947.
Bikini Atoll is a small atoll in the Pacific, part of the Marshall Islands. After World War II, it was chosen as the site of nuclear bomb testing by the United States, and this decision was announced to the 150 or so natives living on the island. They were relocated to a nearby, smaller atoll, where they nearly starved to death. The government continues to give them financial restitution and, after a poorly planned relocation back to Bikini in the 1970s that led to birth defects and illness, the U.S. settled with them for $150 million. The international Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded the islanders more than $500 million, compensation the United States has thus far declined to pay. Back on the atoll, meanwhile, more than twenty nuclear tests were conducted between 1946 and 1958.
Great plan. Look, can we just go to Red Lobster?
Red Lobster is a chain of seafood restaurants with hundreds of locations across the country. It was founded in 1968 by Bill Darden.
On his resume, Robert Reed listed this as The Tempest.
The Tempest is a play by William Shakespeare about a group of seafarers washed up on a remote island ruled by a sorceror, Prospero.
Ooh, she’s a Breck Girl.
The Breck Girl was an advertising icon for Breck shampoo, first appearing in 1937 and launching Breck’s first national advertising campaign in 1946. There were numerous Breck Girls over the years; actress Kim Basinger was even a Breck Girl early in her career.
Sounds like James Galway’s bringing up the rear.
James Galway is an Irish flute player who has enjoyed an extremely successful performing career, one of the first flautists to succeed as a soloist. He got his start in the Berlin Philharmonic in the 1970s but quickly struck out on his own.
I’m here to tell you about Mutual of Omaha.
Mutual of Omaha is an insurance company based in Nebraska. It is best known as the sponsor of the long-running TV series Wild Kingdom, which aired from 1963-1988 and was revived on the cable channel Animal Planet in 2002. The original show featured grandfatherly host Marlin Perkins and his virile sidekick Jim Fowler unironically decked out in safari jackets as they scoured savannahs and swamps in search of wild animals to annoy.
Kicks just keep getting harder to find.
A line from the 1966 song “Kicks,” originally written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Eric Burdon and the Animals, but Burdon turned it down and it was instead recorded by Paul Revere and the Raiders. It was a top ten hit in the U.S. and a number one hit in Canada. Sample lyrics: “And don’t it seem like/Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find/And all your kicks ain’t bringin’ you peace of mind.”
And Fudge Stripes.
Fudge Stripes are a brand of cookies, consisting of shortbread covered with stripes of chocolate. They are manufactured by Keebler.
An odd production of Blithe Spirit.
Blithe Spirit is a comic play (and later a movie) by Noel Coward (1899-1973), about a man who is haunted by the ghost of his dead wife.
Oh, Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.
An often-repeated line from the television series The Odd Couple, starring Tony Randall as Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison. The show ran from 1970-1975.
There’s a two-drunk minimum in this film.
A riff on “two-drink minimum,” a common policy in many nightclubs, comedy clubs in particular, which dictates that patrons, in addition to whatever cover charge or ticket price they may have paid to get in, must also purchase at least two drinks. In recent years, safety concerns over mandating alcohol consumption have led to a “two-item minimum,” which allows patrons to purchase appetizers or soft drinks in place of booze.
Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
The slogan “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” was used in 1980s commercials for Head & Shoulders shampoo.
And he looks terrific in a gingham skirt.
Gingham is a kind of dyed fabric used in clothing, particularly women’s dresses, that was popular during the American westward expansion of the 19th century. Checked or plaid gingham is best known in popular culture: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Mary Ann in Gilligan’s Island (CBS, 1964-1967) both wore checked gingham.
We’ll leave a light on.
In 1986, the Motel 6 chain began running a series of commercials featuring Tom Bodett that used the tagline “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The campaign proved phenomenally successful, running for 15 years.
Did you bring Paxil?
Paxil, or paroxitene, is an antidepressant medication, one of the so-called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), of which the most famous is Prozac. It is also used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder.
And see what the boys in the back room will have.
“See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have” is a song by Frederick Hollander and Frank Loesser. It has been performed by Diahann Carroll, Marlene Dietrich, and Della Reese, among others. Sample lyrics: “See what the boys in the back room will have/And tell them I’m having the same/Go see what the boys in the back room will have/And give them the poison they name.”
Eva Braun’s bed and breakfast.
Eva Braun (1912-1945) was the mistress and briefly the wife of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. She first met him in 1929 when she was 17 years old and began living with him in 1936. She remained with him throughout World War II and finally married him in a brief ceremony the day before the two of them committed suicide rather than be captured by Allied forces.
White Shoulders is a women’s perfume manufactured by Evyan.
He looks like an Easter Island statue.
Easter Island is a small island in the south Pacific. It was inhabited by Polynesian settlers for hundreds of years, but sometime in the 16th century the civilization underwent a drastic decline due to deforestation and overpopulation on the tiny island. However, they left behind a significant cultural achievement in the numerous moai, or large stone statues, that crowd the island’s coastline. More than 800 statues have been recorded, and probably more fragments remain to be discovered. Today the island is home to about 3,000 inhabitants.
We’ve got the thing … we should probably … with the thing …
Possibly a reference to a scene in the 1977 Woody Allen movie Annie Hall. When Allen’s character Alvy Singer and Dianne Keaton’s Annie Hall are invited to a party by singer-songwriter Paul Simon (playing a character much like himself), Alvy demurs, saying to Annie, “We’ve got that thing … you know … the thing …”
And I’m still Victor Buono.
Victor Buono (1938-1982) was a portly actor known for his work in such films as Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte. He also had a recurring role as the villainous Count Manzeppi on the TV series The Wild Wild West.
It’s Rob and Laura’s bedroom.
Rob and Laura Petrie were the main characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which aired from 1961-1966. The parts were played by Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, respectively. In a prime example of the absurdity of network censorship at the time, their bedroom sported separate twin beds; even though they were supposed to be a married couple with a child, the censors felt any suggestion that they slept together would be too shocking for viewers. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo also had separate beds in I Love Lucy (CBS, 1951-1957). Interestingly, back in 1947 on the Dumont network, on the show Mary Kay and Johnny, the title couple shared a bed. It's unclear why later executives got so squeamish.
It’s the boys from the camp across the lake.
In the 1961 Disney movie The Parent Trap (starring Hayley Mills … and Hayley Mills!) and its 1998 remake (starring Lindsey Lohan … and Lindsay Lohan!), the big social event of the girls’ summer camp is a dance with “the boys from the camp across the lake.”
Looks like Liberace’s in there.
Wladziu Valentino Liberace (1919-1987) was a flamboyant entertainer who enjoyed his greatest success in the 1950s, when he had his own television series. His trademark was the elaborate silver candelabrum perched on top of his piano.
Indiana nerd and the temple of dork!
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a 1984 film starring Harrison Ford as the intrepid adventurer; it was a sequel to the wildly successful 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark.
[Sung.] “The Raider’s March.”
“The Raider’s March,” composed by John Williams for the 1981 blockbuster movie Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, came to symbolize the character and was used in all the sequels.
“So?” Soo. –Si.
From the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide: "This is a reference to a bit from The Jack Benny Show, performed by Jack and Mel Blanc. It would go a little something like this: ‘What’s your name?’ ‘Cy.’ ‘Cy?’ ‘Si.’ ‘What do you do?’ ‘Sew.’ ‘Sew?’ ‘Si.’"
[Sung.] What happened was just this. The wind began to twitch.
A line from the song “Munchkin Land,” from the 1939 movie musical The Wizard of Oz. Sample lyrics: “It really was no miracle/What happened was just this/The wind began to switch/The house to pitch/And suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.”
This is where they kneel down with Kissinger.
Henry Kissinger was the secretary of state under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and was one of the major architects of Nixon’s Vietnam War policy. After Nixon made the decision to resign the presidency in the wake of the Watergate scandal, in a famous moment he asked the Jewish Kissinger to kneel with him in prayer.
Cadavers for Algernon.
Flowers for Algernon is a 1966 novel by Daniel Keyes about a mentally disabled man who is chosen as the subject of an experiment to increase his intelligence. The experiment works, but soon he feels his newfound intelligence slipping away.
Come on, it’s just a Jaycees haunted house!
The Jaycees, a.k.a. the United States Junior Chamber, is a nonprofit group founded in 1920 to help give young people the skills they need to succeed in business. They also do a great deal of charity work.
The wall is covered with Issey Miyake clothing.
Issey Miyake is a Japanese clothing designer known for his high-tech designs.
Steve Allen, P.I.
Steve Allen (1921-2000) was the original host of the Tonight Show, appearing from 1953 to 1957. “P.I.” is probably a reference to Magnum, P.I., a TV detective series that aired from 1980-1988.
I know, we’ll throw Gatorade at them!
Dumping a cooler full of Gatorade on top of a coach’s head is a tradition in football, a practice evidently started by a couple of players for the New York Giants back in the 1980s. It is referred to as “The Dunk.”
Okay, Mr. Villechaize, come along, we’ll get you back to your room here.
Hervé Villechaize (1943-1993) was an undersized actor who became famous for the line “De plane! De plane!” on the TV show Fantasy Island, which he appeared on from 1978-1983. He became depressed and worked very little after leaving the series, ultimately killing himself in 1993.
Wonder what he scores on the Myers-Briggs inventory?
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test developed by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter, Isabel Briggs Myers, during the 1940s. The test ranks people according to certain characteristics, such as introvert/extrovert, sense/intuition, thinking/feeling, and so forth. It is often used in leadership training seminars, marriage counseling and such, but it is not well regarded in academic circles.
Claussen kosher ladies. Never cooked. Always crisp.
Claussen is a brand of pickles produced by Kraft Foods. They boast that their pickles are never cooked and always kept cold so they have a “crisp crunch.”
Went a little too far with the dermabrasion.
Dermabrasion is a cosmetic surgery procedure in which the surgeon scrapes off the outer layers of skin with a motorized brush or burr; it is used to diminish the appearance of scars and fine wrinkles.
Comedian Jackie Mason has had tremendous success on Broadway with a string of one-man shows. He has also appeared in TV shows and movies, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jerk.
This is one of Jeff Smith’s weirder shows.
Jeff Smith (1939-2004) was the host of a cooking show called The Frugal Gourmet from 1973-1997. He also wrote a string of cookbooks under that name.
Now, the Basques are one of the finest people … they do wonderful things with organ meat …
An imitation of cooking show host Jeff Smith (see previous note).
Long before Peter Billingsley, there was this guy.
Peter Billingsley is an actor and producer who got his start as a child actor; his most famous role is as Ralphie Parker in the 1983 classic A Christmas Story.
Ty-D-Bol really works.
Ty-D-Bol is a toilet cleanser/disinfectant manufactured by Sara Lee Corporation. It was developed in 1958 by Harry O’Hare Sr.
We all dress like Shirley Valentine.
Shirley Valentine is a 1986 play by Willy Russell, a one-woman show about a British housewife who jets off to Greece, where she finds romance. In 1989 it was made into a movie starring Pauline Collins.
The secretary will disavow any knowledge of our actions.
A paraphrase of the statement that ended the tape-recorded instructions on Mission: Impossible every week. The actual line: “As usual, if any of your IM team is killed or captured, the Secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions.”
“The first thing we do …” Let’s kill all the lawyers.
“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” is a line from the William Shakespeare play Henry VI, Part 2.
Arrrrh … I dreamed I went to Manderley … arrrrh, Jim boy.
A paraphrase of the opening line of Daphne du Maurier’s romantic novel Rebecca, which was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock: “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” Also an imitation of Long John Silver, the scurvy pirate in the Robert Louis Stevenson adventure novel Treasure Island.
Dating at the College of St. Catherine.
The College of St. Catherine is a Catholic women’s college in Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was founded in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.
It looks like President Bush! –I tell ya, honey, Barbara’s got eyes like an eagle.
George H.W. Bush was the forty-first president, serving from 1989-1993. After a series of government appointments, he was nominated as Ronald Reagan’s vice presidential candidate. He won election after Reagan left office, but he lost to Bill Clinton four years later. His wife and first lady was Barbara Bush.
“Dean and Sondra have had time to get into the jungle.” You think they’ll bungle?
“Bungle in the Jungle” is a song by Jethro Tull. Sample lyrics: “Let’s bungle in the jungle/Well, that’s all right by me/I’m a tiger when I want love/But I’m a snake if we disagree.”
Never wear a Speedo.
Speedo is an Australian manufacturer of swimwear, specializing in swimwear for athletes. Its trademark short, tight men’s briefs were introduced at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and quickly became popular worldwide.
I loved a lamprey.
A lamprey is a jawless, parasitic fish that is common around the world. The best known species is the sea lamprey, which attach themselves to the sides or undersides of whales, sharks, etc., and stay there, sucking blood.
Welllllll, time for a little pole-vaulting.
A riff on American character actor Frank Nelson, who became famous on radio and television playing sarcastic, put-upon sales clerks. His high-pitched voice (with his famous catchphrase: “Eee-yeeessss?”) first gained fame on radio's The Jack Benny Program, and when he made the jump to television, appearing in sitcoms ranging from I Love Lucy in the 1950s to Sanford & Son in the 1970s, viewers became equally familiar with his slicked-back hair, round face, and neat mustache.
Hey, he's got an Ugly Stik!
The Ugly Stik is a line of fishing rods manufactured by Shakespeare Fishing Tackle. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
The new Banana Republic mature [something]. Expands with you.
Banana Republic is a chain of upscale casualwear stores owned by the Gap. It started as a largely catalog operation in 1978 and employed a somewhat kitschy jungle motif; when Gap bought the stores in 1983, it phased out the safari theme.
Here’s your towels, Hartley.
See note on Elliot Carlin, above.
Uh, let’s see … which room had the rumaki?
Rumaki is an appetizer, consisting of chicken livers and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon.
The trademark catchphrase of Fozzie Bear, one of the Muppets on The Muppet Show, which aired from 1976-1981. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
I shouldn’t let Brian Epstein dress me.
Brian Epstein (1934-1967) was the manager of the Beatles, credited by many as the man who made their stunning success possible. He died young of an accidental drug overdose in 1967, and after his death the band rapidly started to unravel, ultimately breaking up in 1970.
The lion’s looking at me, Hartley.
See note on Elliot Carlin, above.
I wanna go see the Hall of Record muskies.
Possibly a reference to the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin. Apart from its graveyard for outboard motors, its hundreds of stuffed and mounted trophy fish, and its book containing records set by anglers worldwide, its crown jewel is its Shrine to Anglers, contained inside the body of a 143-foot-long fiberglass muskie. Its open jaw holds a viewing platform that can accommodate 20-plus people. Weddings have been held there.
Look at that up there—it’s a coelacanth on the wall.
The coelacanth is a prehistoric fish that can grow as large as two meters long and 175 pounds. Its fossils are found widely from the Devonian period up to the end of the Cretaceous, at which point it was believed to have gone extinct—until a fisherman pulled one from a river in South Africa in 1938.
Welcome to my production of Tru.
Tru is a one-man show about the author and socialite Truman Capote, written by Jay Presson Allen.
[Sung.] Mammy! Mammy! I’d walk a million miles …
A reference to Al Jolson’s signature tune, “My Mammy.” Sample lyrics: “Mammy, my little Mammy/I’d walk a million miles/For one of your smiles/My Mammy! Oh oh oh …”
During my Montclair moment.
Montclair is a brand of cigarettes; I believe the phrase “Montclair Moment” comes from their advertising, but I have as yet been unable to confirm this.
I’ve got a GED.
GED stands for General Educational Development—the standardized test for people who never graduated from high school; passing the GED is equivalent to earning a high school diploma.
The Roger Maris museum.
Roger Maris (1934-1985) was a right fielder for the New York Yankees in the 1960s. He is best remembered for having broken Babe Ruth’s record for most home runs in a single season, an achievement that had stood for thirty-four years. Maris held the record until 1998, when it was superseded by Mark McGwire.
Fifty monologues for male actors.
Fifty Great Monologues for Student Actors is one of many books of its type, offering selections of dramatic or comedic scenes young actors can perform for auditions or to “develop their instrument.”
And so does Hilton Kramer.
Hilton Kramer (1928-2012) was a cultural critic who served as the art critic for The Nation and later for The New York Times. In 1982 he founded The New Criterion magazine and served as its editor in chief.
It’s called Captain Eo.
Captain Eo is a short film starring Michael Jackson and Anjelica Huston. It debuted at Epcot Center in 1986.
This your drunk, Hartley?
See note on Elliot Carlin, above.
Is that Alf on the wall back there? –I hope so.
Alf was a TV sitcom about a wisecracking alien that moves in with a suburban family (the letters ALF stood for “Alien Life Form”). It aired from 1986-1990.
Except for Minnie Pearl.
Minnie Pearl was the stage name of actress Sarah Colley (1912-1996), who toured with the Grand Ole Opry beginning in 1940. Her trademark entrance line was “How-dee!” She retired from performing in 1991 after suffering a stroke.
The Mugwumps were …
The Mugwumps were a group of dissident Republicans who bolted the party in the presidential election of 1884. They voted for the Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, rather than support the Republican nominee, the corrupt James “Slippery Jim” Blaine. Cleveland was subsequently elected.
Tonight, on the Hollywood Palace!
The Hollywood Palace was a TV variety show that aired from 1964-1970. Hosted by a different guest every week and broadcast from the El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, the show featured such performers as the Rolling Stones and the Jackson 5 (in their first national television appearance).
Let’s look at Mr. Owl.
Possibly a reference to the long-running series of ads for Tootsie Pops, in which a cartoon owl was asked, “How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop?”
It’s Meow Meow Kitty!
Meow Meow Kitty was one of the characters in the Neighborhood of Make Believe, from the children’s TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (1968-2001).
I slapped Ann B. Davis once.
Ann B. Davis (1926-2014) was an actress best known for playing housekeeper Alice Nelson on the TV series The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969-1974. (The Brady Bunch, of course, starred Bloodlust’s Robert Reed as Mike Brady.)
[Sung.] Whe-he-he-he-here is love?
Probably a reference to the song “Where Is Love?” from the musical Oliver. Sample lyrics: “Where is love?/Does it fall from skies above?/Is it underneath the willow tree/That I’ve been dreaming of?/Where is she?/Who I close my eyes to see?”
I could make play suits for the children!
In The Sound of Music, the governess, Maria, makes a set of play clothes for the Von Trapp children from a set of curtains. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Not the Ming spittoon!
The Ming dynasty that ruled China began in 1368 and lasted until 1644. It is renowned for its decorative porcelain, which characteristically emphasized blue and white designs. Ming vases have sold for up to $10 million apiece.
Damn you all to hell!
A famous line from the 1968 film Planet of the Apes.
Now fly, monkeys, fly!
A riff on a classic scene (and the source of nightmares for generations of children) in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, and its frequently misquoted dialogue. As legions of flying monkeys disperse from the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West on their mission to capture Dorothy, the Witch urges them on, shrieking “Fly, fly, fly!” The line is often misquoted as “Fly, my pretties, fly!”
[Hummed.] Wicked Witch theme.
This is the theme for the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz.
Brian Benben is an actor best known for his lead role on the HBO series Dream On. Ostensibly a comedy, the show was largely an excuse to showcase a series of attractive guest stars having sex with Benben.
Soul Train is a pop music television program with an African-American slant, featuring dancers wiggling away to the latest hits. It first aired in 1971 with longtime host Don Cornelius.
"Tony?" I lied.
A reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger's line in the 1985 movie Commando: "Remember, Sully, when I promised to kill you last? I lied." (Thanks to Bill Hiers for this reference.)
John Steinbeck in Of Mice and Murder.
John Steinbeck (1902-1968) was a Nobel Prize-winning author known for his works about rural laborers, such as The Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat. Of Mice and Men, originally published in 1937, is a story of two itinerant laborers, one of them mentally slow, who inadvertently get caught up in a murder and become the targets of a lynch mob.
Rail, rail against the dying of the …
“Rage, rage against the dying of the light” is a famous line from the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night.”
It would be ironic if the tree of death got Dutch elm disease.
Dutch elm disease is a fungus that attacks elm trees, killing them sometimes within a month. It is spread by the elm bark beetle, which carries the fungus spores on its shell.
Cagney and Lacey—the attractive years.
Cagney and Lacey (1982-1988) was a TV show about two policewomen (played by Sharon Gless and Tyne Daly). Both Gless and Daly got quite stout when they grew older.
The Snoop Sisters—the early days.
The Snoop Sisters was a 1972-1974 TV series starring Helen Hayes and Mildred Natwick as two mystery writers who find themselves trying to solve real-life crimes.
Where angels go, trouble follows.
Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows is a 1968 film about a group of Catholic schoolgirls on a trip from the East Coast to the West Coast. It starred Rosalind Russell and Stella Stevens.
Come on, we have to find the secret to bock beer.
Bock beer is a type of lager originating in Munich, a strong beer with plenty of malt.
“Oh.” Mein papa.
“O Mein Papa” is a song from the German musical Feuerwerk (Fireworks). An English-language version recorded by Eddie Fisher was a number-one hit in 1954. Sample lyrics: “Oh, my papa, to me he was so wonderful/Oh, my papa, to me he was so good/No one could be so gentle and so lovable/Oh, my papa, he always understood.”
Hey, boulya’s done.
“Boulya” is a slang term for crack cocaine.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are …
A line from the “Spanish Inquisition” sketch on the BBC comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The full line: “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise … surprise and fear … fear and surprise … Our two weapons are fear and surprise … and ruthless efficiency … Our three weapons are fear, surprise and ruthless efficiency … and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope … Our four … no … Amongst our weapons … Amongst our weaponry are such elements as fear, surprise … I’ll come in again.”
So, you want hush puppies or rice pilaf with your lobster?
Hush puppies are balls of fried cornmeal, a popular side dish in the American South—the name came from big outdoor fish frys, and the practice of cooking up chunks of excess cornmeal batter and feeding them to the dogs to make them stop barking. Rice pilaf is a side dish involving rice cooked in a seasoned broth, usually with onions and spices, which may also include any number of other ingredients such as chopped vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat, or fish.
Bob Packwood goes a-courtin’.
Oregon Senator Robert Packwood served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1995. He resigned his office in 1995 after the Senate Select Committee on Ethics recommended his expulsion due to a series of explosive sexual harassment charges, in which more than two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct ranging from kissing to forceful groping.
An imitation of comic actress Lucille Ball (1911-1989), who had a string of successful sitcoms in the 1950s and 1960s: I Love Lucy, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, and The Lucy Show. “Ricky” refers to Ricky Ricardo, the role played by her then-husband Desi Arnaz on I Love Lucy and Lucy-Desi.
Hey, Jondor, has my latest Ted Nugent bow-hunting magazine come yet?
Ted Nugent is a hard-rock guitarist known for such hit albums as Cat Scratch Fever and Double Live Gonzo. He is equally well known for his right-wing political views, pro-gun advocacy, strong anti-drug stance, and love of hunting. In 2001 he was re-elected to the board of directors of the National Rifle Association.
Look, John the Baptist!
John the Baptist is a Christian saint and is regarded as a prophet by Muslims as well. Christians consider him the forerunner of Jesus Christ. In the New Testament he is a preacher who encourages his followers to confess their sins and be baptized. According to the Gospels, he was imprisoned and beheaded by King Herod.
I think it’s Charlie Callas.
Charlie Callas (1924-2011) was an actor and comedian who appeared in The Snoop Sisters and High Anxiety, among many others.
Come on, play Old Testament prophet with me!
The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian Bible. Believed by most Christians and Jews to be the Word of God, it is a collection of writings by ancient Israelites.
Next year, let’s just go to Branson, Missouri.
Branson is a city in southwestern Missouri. Starting in the 1930s, the city began consciously to position itself as a tourist attraction; it is now considered the “family-friendly Las Vegas” because of its many attractions, which are located along a neon-lighted “strip.” It is particularly known for its musical acts, which consist largely of country and bluegrass. Featured acts include Ray Stevens and The Osmonds.
[Sung.] The night they invented champagne …
A line from the song “The Night They Invented Champagne,” from the musical Gigi. Sample lyrics: “The night they invented champagne/It’s plain as it can be/They thought of you and me/The night they invented champagne/They absolutely knew/That all we’d want to do/Is fly to the sky on champagne …”
It turns out Rosebud was a sled. And The Crying Game? The chick had a … –Hey! Hey!
“Rosebud” was the enigmatic last word of Charles Foster Kane in the movie Citizen Kane. It was in fact the name of the sled he owned as an innocent boy. The Crying Game is a 1992 film about a guilt-ridden IRA terrorist who becomes involved with the girlfriend of a slain soldier; the woman (spoiler alert) is actually a transsexual man.
Chivalry, in case a woman comes by.
Sir Walter Raleigh (1554-1618) was a popular English courtier during the reign of Elizabeth I. A famous though apocryphal story has him laying his cloak over a mud puddle so that the queen might cross it without dirtying her shoes.
The defiant debs.
The Defiant Ones is a 1958 film starring Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier as two escaped convicts who, chained to each other, must learn to work together to evade capture. Both Curtis and Poitier were nominated for Best Actor Oscars for their work in the film.
Oh, this is the Osterman weekend.
The Osterman Weekend is a novel by Robert Ludlum about a TV reporter who discovers that his weekend guests may be KGB agents. It was made into a movie starring Rutger Hauer in 1983.
Visit the La Brea Tar Pits.
The La Brea Tar Pits are a tourist attraction in Los Angeles, an open pit where asphalt bubbles to the surface from the large petroleum deposits under the L.A. Basin. The pits have proved a treasure trove of preserved fossils from the prehistoric era, including mammoths and saber-toothed cats.
An imitation of Señor Wences (real name Wenceslao Moreno; 1896-1999), a Spanish ventriloquist who made frequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was known for his comic banter with a hand puppet named Johnny and a puppet hidden in a box who went by the name of Pedro. He died in 1999 at the age of 103.
Let me baptize you just once!
See note on John the Baptist, above.
Robert Reed is Buford T. Pusser in Prancing Tall.
Walking Tall is a 1973 film loosely based on real-life sheriff Buford Pusser, played by that slab of Southern-fried meat, Joe Don Baker himself. It spawned two sequels with Bo Svenson in the Baker role as well as a short-lived TV series, also starring Svenson.
Reduce, recycle, reuse.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle,” also known as the three R’s, is one of the central slogans of the environmental movement.
The Kraut is a lonely hunter.
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter is an autobiographical novel by Carson McCullers, about the lives of a group of people in a Southern town who become involved with a deaf-mute named John Singer. In 1968 it was made into a movie starring Alan Arkin.
[Hummed.] “On, Wisconsin!”
This is the fight song of the University of Wisconsin, Kevin Murphy's alma mater. (Heartfelt thanks to Neal Stidham for this reference.)
Damn the torpedoes, please.
“Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” is a famous order given by Union Admiral David Farragut during the Civil War battle of Mobile Bay, when his ships began to falter while entering a heavily mined area (mines at the time were called torpedoes). On his orders, the ships succeeded in entering the bay and the Union fleet won the battle, shutting down the Confederacy’s last major port on the Gulf of Mexico.
He’s a regular Sacagawea.
Sacagawea was an Indian woman married to a French-Canadian trapper, Touissant Charbonneau, who was hired to act as an interpreter for Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition. Sacagawea accompanied her husband on the journey. She wound up serving as a de facto guide for the explorers and helped them deal with the Indian tribes they encountered en route to the Pacific.
[Sung.] Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles …
A line from the German national anthem, “Das Lied der Deutschen” (“The Song of the Germans”). The tune, written by Joseph Haydn, was used as the anthem from 1922 through the end of the Nazi era; the current government uses the third verse of the song as its anthem. Sample lyrics: “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles/Über alles in der Welt …” (Germany, Germany above all/Above all else in the world …”).
Look at this—Lucas McCain’s armoire.
Lucas McCain was the main character of the TV western The Rifleman, which aired from 1958-1963. The part was played by Chuck Connors.
I’m the NRA.
“I’m the NRA” is an advertising slogan for the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobbying group.
Scooby-Doo: the motion picture.
Scooby-Doo was the name of the anthropomorphic dog who first appeared in the animated TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, which aired from 1969-1972. He was voiced by Don Messick. The show spawned several dozen series, TV movies, videos, and, yes, live-action feature films—but when this episode was written, the very notion of a major motion picture about Scooby-Doo qualified as a joke.
I think I’ll settle in with some Erma Bombeck.
Erma Bombeck (1927-1996) was a humorist who had a popular syndicated newspaper column for decades. She tended to write about the stresses of family life, including raising children.
Maybe a little schnitzelbank for dinner?
“Schnitzelbank” is an old German drinking song. Sample lyrics: “Ist das nicht dein schnitzelbank?/ Ja, das ist mein schnitzelbank/ Ohhhh, du schoene/Ohhhh, du schoene/Ohhhh, du schoene/Schnit-zel-bank!” (“Isn't that your carving bench?/Yes, that is my carving bench/Oh, you wonderful carving bench!”)
Those darn Menendez boys.
In August 1989, brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez shot and killed their parents, Jose and Kitty Menendez, in their Beverly Hills mansion. At first the two brothers claimed they had been at the movies when their parents were killed; later, they admitted to the killings but claimed they were acting in self-defense after years of physical and sexual abuse. Prosecutors argued the true motive was Jose Menendez’s $14 million fortune. The first trial ended in a hung jury; at the second trial the two young men were convicted of first-degree murder. In 1996 they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A reference to Show 424, Manos, the Hands of Fate.
No cookies, not now, not ever, never!
A reference to an old skit on The Andy Williams Show (1969-1971), called the “cookie bear” skit, in which a guy in a bear suit would try various tactics to get Williams to give him a cookie. Each skit ended with Williams shrieking, “No cookies! Not now, not ever, never!”
[Sung.] But a cave is not a home …
A reference to the Luther Vandross song “A House Is Not a Home.” Sample lyrics: “A chair is still a chair, even when there's no one sittin' there/But a chair is not a house and a house is not a home/When there's no one there to hold you tight/And no one there you can kiss goodnight …”
Ladies and gentlemen, Spalding Gray!
Spalding Gray (1941-2004) was a performance artist whose works consisted of him sitting at a table and telling a story in a long monologue. His works included Swimming to Cambodia, Monster in a Box, and Gray’s Anatomy. He committed suicide in 2004.
[Sung.] Clap on!
A riff on commercials for The Clapper, an electrical switch that makes household lamps—or any device plugged into it—turn on or off in response to loud noises, such as clapping. In the late 1990s, commercials for The Clapper took on a pop culture life of their own—the low budget and ubiquitous TV ads featured people happily clapping to turn on their lights or turn off their TV, accompanied by a jingle singing: “Clap on! Clap off! The Clapper!” The jingle was actually borrowed from a jingle in a 1980s commercial for Sine-Off cold medicine.
See note on Al Jolson, above.
He’s regained his sangfroid.
Sangfroid (French for “cold blood”) is the state of keeping your cool in the face of trying circumstances or danger.
Yes, I call that one Lutheran Love.
Lutheranism is a branch of Protestant Christianity that follows the teachings of 16th-century reformer Martin Luther. Early Lutherans frowned on dancing and other secular, depraved activities; modern Lutherans are considerably more relaxed. There is a high concentration of Lutherans in the American Midwest and Upper Plains states.
Linc. Julie. Over there.
Linc Hayes and Julie Barnes (played by Clarence Williams III and Peggy Lipton, respectively) were two of the hip young police narcs on the TV series The Mod Squad, which aired from 1968-1973. (The third was Pete Cochran, played by Michael Cole.)
We didn’t steal no bike, neither.
A reference to Show 514, Teenage Strangler.
Should have had a tech rehearsal.
In theater, music performances, and film and TV production, a tech rehearsal is a rehearsal that concentrates on lighting, sound effects, pyrotechnics, and any mechanical riggings for stage sets or performers.
David Letterman is a late-night talk show host known for his offbeat sense of humor. His eccentric talk show career began in 1980 with The David Letterman Show, an Emmy-winning morning program that aired on NBC for one season. In 1982, NBC launched Late Night with David Letterman, which aired after The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He remained there until Carson’s retirement and a highly public kerfuffle with NBC about who would be taking over The Tonight Show. NBC went with frequent guest host Jay Leno, and Letterman decided to jump ship to CBS when his contract ended. He started The Late Show with David Letterman in 1993 and remained there until he retired in 2015.