624: Samson vs. the Vampire Women
by Wyn Hilty
Oh, Capitol Critters is on.
Capitol Critters was a 1992 animated TV series about a group of animals, including a mouse, a rat, and a cockroach, that lived in the walls of the White House.
Why do they have the Blue Mosque as their symbol?
The Blue Mosque, one of Istanbul’s most famous landmarks, was completed in 1616; it was built by architect Mehmed Aga for Sultan Ahmed I.
And Delta Burke as Delilah.
Delta Burke is an actress best known for her role in the television series Designing Women, which ran from 1986 to 1993.
You know, suddenly I’m in the mood for a Black Castle hamburger.
White Castle is a chain of fast food burger restaurants founded in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. Its signature small, square burgers are also available through vending machines and in the frozen food sections of grocery stores.
Remember, they’re vampire women, so get ready with the Cher jokes.
Cher (b. Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre) is a singer and actress who has appeared on various television shows and in films. She first rose to fame as the co-host of a series of TV variety shows with her then-husband, Sonny Bono, and won a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance in the 1987 comedy Moonstruck.
What you call hell, Ramos calls photography.
A reference to a line in the 1982 Sylvester Stallone vehicle Rambo: First Blood. The actual line: "What you choose to call hell, he calls home." (Thanks to Gami Cross for this reference.)
With special assistance by G. Gordon Liddy.
G. Gordon Liddy was the special counsel for President Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign in 1972, the Committee to Re-elect the President, or CREEP. On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate in Washington, D.C.; the resulting scandal led to Nixon’s resignation to avoid being impeached. The five, along with Liddy and E. Howard Hunt, a former White House aide, were charged with burglary and wiretapping; Liddy was convicted and spent four and a half years in prison. He later became the host of a conservative radio talk show and earned fresh notoriety in 1994 when he advised listeners to aim for the head when shooting at ATF agents.
I dreamed I visited El Manderley last night.
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.”
[Sung.] Yes, the movie sucks, Fernando.
A paraphrase of the ABBA song “Fernando.” The actual lyrics: “Can you hear the drums, Fernando?”
Fabian Forte, known professionally as Fabian, was a teen idol during the late 1950s and 1960s. He has recorded dozens of albums and acted in more than 30 films, including Ten Little Indians, The Longest Day, and Thunder Alley.
Yep. One of Newt’s orphanages here.
Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1995 after the Republicans took control of the House in the so-called “Republican Revolution.” As part of the Republicans’ agenda, dubbed the “Contract with America,” Gingrich proposed taking the children of single mothers on welfare away and placing them in orphanages.
This is like Miss Havisham’s summer place.
Miss Havisham is a character in the Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations. Miss Havisham is a bitter and reclusive old woman, clad in the decaying remains of a wedding dress, which she has worn ever since she was jilted on her wedding day years earlier. As her revenge, she has raised a girl named Estella to be a plague on men: beautiful, cold, and heartless, Estella breaks the hero Pip’s heart.
Suzanne Pleshette (1937-2008) was an actress who appeared in more than 50 movies and television shows, including The Birds (1963) and The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978).
[Screaming.] Someone taped over Seinfeld!
Seinfeld was a television sitcom starring comedian Jerry Seinfeld that aired from 1990-1998. It became one of the top-rated shows during its nine-year run—not bad for a show that purported to be about “nothing.”
[Slowly.] Surprise. [Sung.] Happy birthday to you …
In 2015, a judge ruled the copyright claims to “Happy Birthday” invalid; companies had been collecting royalties on it for 80 years.
Fang? Are you out there? Ha-ha!
Comedian Phyllis Diller (1917-2012) often made jokes about her fictitious husband “Fang,” a character who she said had to be “even more idiotic than I.”
Oh, it’s Ginger Rogers. Whew.
Ginger Rogers (1911-1995) was a singer, dancer, and actress who was best known for being paired with Fred Astaire (1899-1987) in such films as Flying Down to Rio (1933) and Top Hat (1935).
Let the Cher jokes begin. –Hey! It looks like Cher!
See note on Cher, above.
Founded in 1948, Wham-O is the company behind such classic toys as the Frisbee, the Superball, and the hula hoop.
Boy, Angie Dickinson has hit a rough spot.
Angie Dickinson is an actress who has appeared in more than a hundred movies and television shows, including Ocean’s 11 (1960), Police Woman (1974-1978), and Dressed to Kill (1980).
She’s dressed like Jeremiah Johnson.
Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 film starring Robert Redford as a reclusive, fur-clad mountain man who inadvertently becomes the target of a vendetta by the Crow Indians.
[Sung.] Oh, what a beautiful morning ...
A line from the song “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” from the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “Oh what a beautiful morning/Oh what a beautiful day.”
This is back when glam rock was really big.
Glam rock was a blip in the history of music, originating in England in the early 1970s and lasting only a handful of years. It was characterized by outrageous costumes and makeup and over-the-top theatricality. Practitioners included David Bowie (1947-2016, during his Ziggy Stardust era) and Gary Glitter.
All right, Marines, grab your socks and drop your ... socks.
A G-rated version of a line from the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket: “Drop your cocks and grab your socks.”
Lee Press-on Nails—artificial nails with an adhesive backing—were advertised constantly on TV during the 1980s.
Heh. Chinese fire drill. Whoo.
Chinese fire drills were a popular prank in the 1960s, in which all the occupants in a car stopped at a red light would get out and run around the car before diving back in, not necessarily in their original seats—sort of an automotive version of musical chairs.
A series of ads for Shell gasoline back in the 1960s bragged about its mysterious ingredient, Platformate, that dramatically improved engine performance.
The incidental music is similar to the famous theme to Jaws, composed by John Williams for the 1975 blockbuster.
The eczema support group meets in the basement.
Eczema, a.k.a. dermatitis, is a skin condition characterized by dry, itchy skin, which in severe cases can become cracked, raw, and bleeding.
Some of them went on to start Hole.
Hole was a Los Angeles alternative rock band founded in 1989 by Courtney Love and Eric Erlandson. The band earned a small but intense following after the release of its first album, Pretty on the Inside, and hit the height of its popularity with its 1998 song “Celebrity Skin,” off the album of the same name.
[Sung.] Rhiannon ...
A line from the song “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac. Sample lyrics: “Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night/And wouldn't you love to love her/She rules her life like a bird in flight/And who will be her lover ...” (Thanks to Mike Grunwald for this reference.)
Mexico really needs a Martha Stewart.
Martha Stewart is an author, television host, and entrepreneur whose business is centered on beautiful living and domesticity: decorating, cooking, crafts, flower arranging, and so on. She hosts a syndicated weekly television show, publishes a magazine (Martha Stewart Living), and offers her own line of house paint.
Another successful José Eber makeover.
José Eber is one of the most successful and well-known hairstylists in the world. His José Eber Salon in Beverly Hills attracts dozens of celebrity clients, including Cher, Meg Ryan, and Barbra Streisand. Eber was the man behind Farrah Fawcett’s famous feathered do on Charlie’s Angels.
Ah, yes, the three Russian aviators.
In the classic Marx Brothers movie A Night at the Opera (1935), the brothers stow away on a ship headed for New York, and in order to get past immigration, Harpo steals the uniforms (and beards) of three famed aviators who are passengers on the ship to use as disguises.
The Dead! Whoo! Cucamonga! Sugar Magnolia!
The Grateful Dead was a famed rock band from the heyday of the 1960s. Two of their better-known songs are “Pride of Cucamonga” and “Sugar Magnolia.”
Tim Allen is an actor and comedian who is best known for playing Tim Taylor on the television series Home Improvement, which aired from 1991-1999. He has also appeared in such movies as Galaxy Quest (1999) and Big Trouble (2002).
Comedian Jackie Mason has had tremendous success on Broadway with a string of one-man shows. He has also appeared on TV shows and in movies, including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jerk.
An imitation of actor Bob Denver as the hapless crewman Gilligan on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, which aired from 1964-1967.
It’s the Pips!
Gladys Knight & the Pips was one of the most popular R&B groups of the 1960s and 1970s. The Pips, consisting of Merald “Bubba” Knight, William Guest, and Edward Patten, were the backup singers on such songs as “Midnight Train to Georgia” and “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me.”
It’s like a Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company.
Rancher Stuart Anderson opened the first Black Angus Steakhouse in 1964, serving steak and seafood amid a decidedly western décor. Thereafter there were two sister chains of restaurants: Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company and Black Angus Steakhouses. Both still exist, but Black Angus is the dominant chain.
Did you ever see a Polish magnet? Here, it’s over this way.
Jokes about the stupidity of Poles became popular in the ‘60s & ‘70s; the first Polish joke books were compiled by the Polish-Jewish Larry Wilde.
Which one is Brad Pitt?
Brad Pitt is an actor and certified Hollywood hunk who was launched to fame after he took his shirt off in 1991’s Thelma and Louise. He was horribly miscast as the aristocratic vampire Louis in the 1994 film version of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.
So she was Nora Dunn two hundred years ago?
Nora Dunn is an actress and comedian who was a regular cast member on the TV series Saturday Night Live from 1985-1990. Since then she has appeared in a number of films, including Bulworth (1998) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).
[Sung.] As time goes on ...
A line from the 1970 song “Colour My World” by Chicago. Sample lyrics: “As time goes on/I realize/Just what you mean/To me ...” (Thanks to Sampo for this reference.)
I dedicate this song to Thorazine.
Thorazine is an antipsychotic drug used to treat people suffering from schizophrenia.
She’s auditioning for Freddie de Cordova.
Freddie de Cordova (1910-2001) was the executive producer of the Tonight Show during the Johnny Carson era. While the show aired, he sat just off camera to keep an eye on things, and Carson sometimes addressed questions to him, but he rarely appeared on the air. The Canadian skit comedy show SCTV parodied this habit of lurking off camera in a sketch titled “The Freddie de Cordova Show,” in which the host's desk sat empty while de Cordova interviewed his guests from his usual post offstage.
Now Dean Martin’s gonna come in and jump on the piano.
Dean Martin (1917-1995) was a singer and actor, a member of the Rat Pack of actors led by Frank Sinatra. He got his start as half of the Martin and Lewis comedy team , which propelled him and partner Jerry Lewis to superstardom. He later starred as the host of a TV variety show, The Dean Martin Show, which ran from 1965-1974. A recurring segment on the show began with Martin leaping onto accompanist Ken Lane's piano.
The Mexican Larry Tate. –El Stephens!
Larry Tate was a character on the television series Bewitched, which aired from 1964-1972. The role was played by actor David White (1916-1990). Tate was the silver-haired, mustachioed, neurotic boss of Darrin Stephens, who was played at various points by Dick York and Dick Sargent.
Just like Count Basie. One more time!
Count Basie (1904-1984) was an American jazz musician known for his spare and economical piano playing. He led the Count Basie Orchestra, which had numerous hits during the 1930s and 1940s. He formed a second orchestra during the 1950s and 1960s and continued as a bandleader until shortly before his death in 1984. "One more time!" is from April in Paris, one of Basie's signature songs.
Beethoven, from the grave, renounces his great work.
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a German composer considered by many the greatest musician who ever lived. Many of the Romantic composers of the 19th century were heavily influenced by his work. He wrote "Moonlight Sonata," which Diana is playing here, in 1801.
Hey, great. You know that thing from “Peanuts”?
“Peanuts” is a comic strip created by Charles Schulz (1922-2000). The strip was first published in 1950 and was later turned into several successful television specials. The theme music for the TV shows is a very well known piano piece called "Linus and Lucy"; it was written by jazz composer Vince Guaraldi.
General Hospital is a television soap opera that first aired in 1963. It hit its peak of popularity in the 1980s with its romance between Luke Spencer (played by Anthony Geary) and Laura Gray Vining Webber Baldwin Spencer Baldwin (played by Genie Francis). MST3K has aired several General Hospital shorts: on Show 413, Manhunt in Space; Show 415, The Beatniks; and Show 417, Crash of the Moons.
An imitation of Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in the film version of To Kill a Mockingbird. Scout is the nickname of Finch’s daughter.
If bats got into his hair, they’d drown in the Vaseline.
Vaseline is a brand of petroleum jelly; while it is normally used on the skin, the company also makes a hair tonic.
He’s got a picture of Reddy Kilowatt up over there.
Reddy Kilowatt is a “corporate spokestoon” created in 1926 for the Alabama Power Company. A small figure that looks like a lightning bolt, Reddy has been licensed by more than 200 companies and has appeared in cartoons, on stationery, on billboards, and in newspaper and magazine ads. Reddy is currently the property of the Northern States Power Company, which bought the character in 1998.
Please shut the film off and discuss now. What would you have done to make this a better party?
A common prompt used in classroom filmstrips.
Hey, he’s a CB owner. Wonder what his handle is.
In CB (Citizens Band) radio slang, popular in the 1970s, a handle was a nickname adopted by a CB user.
I’ll consult my sacred roll of Brawny.
Brawny is a brand of paper towels manufactured by Georgia-Pacific. The lumberjack on the Brawny paper towel package has been given a makeover several times since the brand was introduced in the 1970s.
Ah, they let Billy draw today’s pamphlet.
The “Family Circus” comic strip, which was created by Bil Keane, sometimes publishes crudely drawn cartoons, claiming they were done by “Billy,” the strip’s seven-year-old son.
Longtime radio broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) was known for narrating the turn of a page and ending his broadcast with “Good day!”
Her tragic destiny was announced by her parents of Red Wing, Minnesota.
Red Wing, Minnesota, is a small town on the Mississippi River, population 16,000. It is home to Red Wing Shoes and Red Wing Stoneware.
It's Butterfield Ocho.
Butterfield 8 is a 1960 film starring Elizabeth Taylor as a woman who gets romantically involved with an unhappily married lawyer (played by Laurence Harvey).
Now, when was I a Flying Leatherneck?
“Flying Leathernecks” is the nickname for Marine aviators; Marines were called Leathernecks because they wore a leather band around their necks during the 19th century to protect them from sword blows. There was a 1951 film called Flying Leathernecks that starred John Wayne as the leader of a squadron of Marine aviators in World War II.
I shouldn’t have gotten drunk at Sturgis.
Sturgis, a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota, hosts an annual biker rally every August that draws more than half a million people.
Well, I suppose I have to read her The Very Hungry Caterpillar again.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children’s book by Eric Carle, who also wrote The Very Busy Spider and The Very Lonely Firefly.
Huh—Garth Hudson’s outside.
Garth Hudson was the keyboardist for The Band and has also played as a backup musician for John Hammond Jr. and Bob Dylan, as well as releasing solo albums.
You’re getting Pond’s on my suit.
Pond's is a brand of cold cream used as a facial cleanser.
I’ll send for your car, Mr. Lugosi.
Bela Lugosi’s (1882-1956) most famous role is of course Count Dracula, which he played on Broadway before appearing in the classic 1931 film.
Over the lips and through the gums, look out stomach, here it comes.
This is a drinking toast dating back to the ‘30s. A variant: “Look out liver, here it comes!”
They didn’t count on Carlton the doorman!
Carlton was the unseen doorman to Rhoda’s apartment building on the sitcom Rhoda; he was played by veteran voiceover actor Lorenzo Music.
This is vampire wilding!
“Wilding” was a media term coined in 1989 after a gang of teenagers allegedly raped and bludgeoned a young female investment banker who was jogging in Central Park. Five of them confessed to the brutal crime, although they later recanted, claiming the confessions had been coerced by police, who were under intense pressure to solve the crime. The attack was the subject of many a hand-wringing newspaper editorial on the theme that civilization was on the verge of collapse. Unfortunately for the cause of histrionic journalism, in 2002 DNA evidence exonerated the teens, pinning the crime instead on a known rapist named Matias Reyes, already in prison for a series of rapes and a murder. In December 2002, the teens’ convictions were set aside, and in 2014 a suit they filed against the city was settled for $40 million.
I’m Coco Chanel.
Coco Chanel (1883-1971) was a legendary fashion designer whose name became a household word during the 1920s. Her design house remains a leader in haute couture, and the name Chanel is synonymous with expensive, elegant clothing.
Ah, the Rainforest Cafe.
The Rainforest Cafe is a theme restaurant/store chain whose ersatz trees and ambient nature sounds can be found in concrete and glass shopping malls around the country.
The torture of Don DeFore.
Don DeFore (1913-1993) was an actor who played supporting roles in a number of films during the 1940s, but he found real success on television, where he played neighbor “Thorny” Thornberry on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet from 1952-1957.
They’re worshiping a giant Toblerone.
Swiss chocolatier Theodor Tobler was inspired to create his famous triangular bar after seeing dancers form a pyramid at the Folies Bergères in Paris.
It’s a Mandrell Sisters Halloween special.
Country singer Barbara Mandrell had a TV variety show with sisters Louise and Irlene from 1980-1982: Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters. The series was produced by kid-vid puppeteers Sid and Marty Krofft and featured weekly guest stars on the order of Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs.
I’d like to thank the Academy …
The first ever Academy Awards were handed out at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, with Douglas Fairbanks hosting. The ceremony lasted 15 minutes.
She looks like a Magic Eye picture.
A Magic Eye picture is an autostereogram: a 3D image embedded in a seemingly random assortment of patterns. They became very popular in the early 1990s: books of Magic Eye images were published, and they were syndicated in newspapers nationwide.
[Sung.] Woke up, got out of bed/Dragged a comb across my head.
A paraphrased line from the Beatles song “A Day in the Life.” Actual lyrics: “Woke up, fell out of bed/Dragged my comb across my head.”
She’s just Princess Kay of the yucky way.
Princess Kay of the Milky Way is a Minnesota beauty queen crowned by the Midwest Dairy Association. The lucky winner gets her likeness sculpted in 90 pounds of butter at the state fair.
Ah, she’s a member of the Mug Club.
“Mug Clubs” are programs at bars and restaurants that provide a custom mug to patrons, with which they can drink beer at a discounted price.
The making of the International Male catalog.
The International Male catalog peddled incredibly campy men’s clothing for more than 30 years. We’re talking gold lamé ties and fishnet T-shirts. Eagerly anticipated by gay men, over the years issues of the catalog featured such models as a young Mark Wahlberg and a pre-transition Bruce Jenner. In 2009 International Male became Undergear, concentrating on men’s undergarments.
I ordered a Tom Collins.
A Tom Collins is a cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, sugar, and club soda and garnished with a lemon slice and a cherry.
We’re out of blood. Is Pepsi okay?
Pepsi, originally marketed in 1893 as Brad’s Drink, is the chief rival to Coca-Cola.
Demi Moore. Michael Douglas. Disclosure.
Demi Moore is an actress who was part of the original Brat Pack in the 1980s; she subsequently became famous for taking her clothes off in a succession of movies. Michael Douglas, son of actor Kirk Douglas, is a Hollywood leading man who has starred in such films as Romancing the Stone (1984) and Fatal Attraction (1987). In 1994, the two co-starred in Disclosure, a film about a man who is sexually harassed by his female boss/ex-girlfriend.
Body by Jake.
Jake Steinfeld is a fitness guru who had a TV exercise show in the late 1980s titled Body by Jake; his line of exercise equipment is sold under the same name.
This is what Southern Baptists think Catholic Mass is like.
Baptists and Catholics haven’t traditionally gotten along; one reason is the Catholic ceremony of Mass, which Baptists find blasphemous, both for the “body and blood” aspect of communion and for the “idols” of saints in churches.
Who wants blood? –I do, I do!
Trident Sugarless Gum had a long-running TV ad campaign in the 1980s built around the call and response “Who wants gum? I do! I do!” In the early 1990s the wording was changed to “Who wants Trident? I do! I do!”
Can you imagine the huge apocalyptic grease fire if they threw Rush Limbaugh in there?
Rush Limbaugh is a conservative commentator who helped lead the conservative talk radio revolution in the 1990s. He is not what you would call a slender man.
Hey, it’s Big Ethel!
“Big” Ethel Muggs is a character in the Archie comic book series and animated TV shows. First introduced in 1962, Ethel is a boy-crazy student at Riverdale High with a particular obsession with Jughead. Ethel is tall, thin, and gangly with short black hair and buck teeth; the “Big” nickname, which referred to her height rather than her girth, was dropped in the 1990s.
Uhh, it must be a Merlot?
Merlot is a variety of wine grape, one of the most widely planted in the French wine-growing region of Bordeaux, and a popular choice for vineyards around the world. Dark blue in color, Merlot grapes generally produce a full-bodied red wine with high alcohol and tannins, and notes of plum and blackberry.
I’m just waiting for that click, Maggie.
“I’m waiting for that click” is what Brick says to Maggie in the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, referring to an imaginary mental “off” switch activated by alcohol. The film version starred Elizabeth Taylor and Paul Newman.
Anna Maria Alberghetti!
Anna Maria Alberghetti is an actress and singer who starred in a number of movies for Paramount and went on to an impressive stage career, making her Broadway debut in the 1961 musical Carnival.
She’s the Thelma Ritter of the group.
Thelma Ritter (1905-1969) was an actress who played supporting roles in a number of films; her best-known role was probably as the outspoken nurse in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1954 thriller Rear Window.
Sade is a Nigerian-born singer (full name Sade Adu) who hit it big in the mid-1980s with such hits as “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator.” She continued to record throughout the 1990s; her album Lovers Rock was released in 2000.
[Sung.] Your love is king ...
A line from the Sade song of the same name. See previous note.
Is this Joe Cocker here in the foreground?
Joe Cocker (1944-2014) was a British soul singer known for his random full-body spasms onstage. With his Grease Band in the late 1960s, he performed such hit songs as “Feelin’ Alright” and “Delta Lady.” Cocker reportedly spent most of the 1970s in an alcohol-induced stupor before scoring a comeback in 1983 with “Up Where We Belong,” a duet with Jennifer Warnes that was included on the soundtrack for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. Cocker continued to record and tour throughout the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s.
And a good friend.
A reference to Show 201, Rocketship X-M.
The How and Why Book of Vampire Women.
The How and Why Wonder Books was a series of children’s reference books in the ‘60s and ‘70s focusing on science and history.
Oh, why did I agree to proofread this Michener novel?
James Michener (1907-1997) was an American author known for his massive novels, including Hawaii (c. 900 pages) and Texas (c. 1,300 pages).
Transfer the county’s funds to derivatives ...
In 1994, Orange County in Southern California became the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, having lost $1.7 billion of its $7.4 billion investment pool. County Treasurer Robert Citron made heavily leveraged investments in extremely risky derivative securities, a bet that did not pay off.
Andersen Windows and—hello!
Andersen Corp. makes doors and windows; its headquarters are in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
I know. I look like Vincent Price.
Vincent Price (1911-1993) was an actor known for countless roles in B-grade horror films. His distinctive voice and lanky frame graced such movies as House of Wax, The Fly, and Pit and the Pendulum. He also hosted the PBS series Mystery from 1981-1989.
That’s too bad. Well, I’ve got a golf date with Randy the Macho Man …
“Macho Man” Randy Savage (1952-2011) was a pro wrestler for decades, famous for his raspy voice and his running feud with Hulk Hogan.
Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1959.
A paraphrase of a line from the Prince song “1999.” The actual lyrics: “2000 zero zero party over, oops, out of time!/So 2night I’m gonna party like it’s 1999!”
Jeeves’ final years: exiled in Mexico.
Jeeves was the creation of British author P.G. Wodehouse (1881-1975), the quintessential “gentleman’s gentleman,” who acted as an impeccable manservant to Wodehouse’s bumbling Bertie Wooster in such books as Much Obliged, Jeeves. Jeeves made his first appearance in print in 1917 and his last in 1971.
He looks like the guy from House Party. –Oh, yeah, it’s Kid! Or Play.
House Party is a 1990 film starring Christopher Reid (a.k.a. Kid) and Christopher Martin (a.k.a. Play) as two young men determined to party despite groundings, stern fathers, and school bullies. Reid famously boasted a towering hi-top fade.
It’s a rockin’ party, what with the Strauss, and the dancing ...
Johann Strauss the Younger (1825-1899) was an Austrian composer known especially for his waltzes, of which “The Blue Danube,” playing here, is the most famous.
I never thought I’d long for a Mariachi band.
Mariachi is a blanket term for a number of musical styles that emerged in western Mexico in the 19th century. The composition of a Mariachi band can vary greatly, but generally there would be as many as eight violins and/or violas, a couple of trumpets, a guitar, and maybe an acoustic bass guitar.
Mickey Spillane, locked out of another society party.
Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) wrote hard-boiled detective fiction starring Mike Hammer, a hard-drinking, hard-fighting, quick-shooting, quintessentially American detective—Sam Spade without Dashiell Hammett’s literary pretensions.
[Sung.] I have often stalked down this lane before ...
This is a parody of the song “On the Street Where You Live,” from the musical My Fair Lady. The actual lyrics: “I have often walked down this street before/But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before/All at once am I/Several stories high/Knowing I’m on the street where you live.”
So then, I sailed around Cape Hope, and King Ferdinand, he’s a really good friend of mine ...
This appears to be a reference to Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Dias (c. 1450-1500), who in 1488 became the first European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope on the southern tip of Africa, opening a sea route to the riches of Asia. However, the king of Portugal at the time was John II. King Ferdinand was the king of Spain, who sponsored Christopher Columbus’ expedition that discovered the New World in 1492.
You killed one of the Dutch Masters, you fiends!
The Dutch Masters were a group of painters from the Netherlands during the 17th century, which included Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), Frans Hals (1581-1666), and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669).
Mmm, Giorgio. Makes me gag!
Giorgio was the first perfume to advertise with a “scent strip” included in a magazine (Vogue, in this case).
“In a little while we’ll be back.” She must have drank Chinese blood.
The old trope that one feels hungry an hour after eating Chinese food has been around since at least the ‘30s, although research has failed to confirm it.
Boy, I tell ya, you only rent blood, huh?
A reference to a famous Archie Bunker line from the TV sitcom All in the Family (1971-1979): “You can’t really buy beer, you can only rent it.”
You are not the Kissingers!
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, including the secret bombing of Cambodia. He was married twice: first to Ann Fleischer and then to Nancy Maginnes.
Maybelline—fine makeup, sensibly priced.
That was Maybelline’s ad slogan from the 1960s to the 1980s.
I will get your Cream of Wheat.
Cream of Wheat is a wheat farina porridge that debuted at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Once you go Cossack, you'll never go back. Heh heh heh.
Cossacks were originally a tribal people from the Black Sea region. They enjoyed a semi-autonomous status under the Russians in exchange for their services in protecting the Russian borders. They became famous for their military prowess. The phrase is a variant on the sexually and racially charged saying "Once you go black, you never go back."
[Sung.] Ten minutes ago, I met you/And we murmured a how do you do ...
A line from the song “Ten Minutes Ago,” written by Rodgers and Hammerstein for a television production of Cinderella, starring Julie Andrews.
I should tell you that some time ago a prophecy was spoken of ... oh, what the hell. Give me another Black Russian.
A Black Russian is a cocktail consisting of vodka and coffee-flavored liqueur, such as Kahlua, served over ice.
I just realized this is a totally boring party. Let’s bring out the peyote.
The peyote cactus is native to southern Texas and northern Mexico. It has hallucinogenic properties and is used in the ceremonies of some Native American religions.
Oh, Mr. Wayne ...
An imitation of Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred from the 1960s TV show Batman, as portrayed by Alan Napier. See note on Alfred, above.
[Sung, slowly.] The Batman theme.
This is the theme to the 1966 television series Batman, which was composed by Neal Hefti.
He’s got the ball at the 20, the 10 ... he could go all the way.
An imitation of veteran sportscaster Howard Cosell (1918-1995). Cosell was the commentator on the TV show Monday Night Football from 1970-1983, when he left television sportscasting, calling pro football “a stagnant bore.”
The undead recruits of the WWF.
The World Wrestling Federation is the pro wrestling league behind the television shows Raw and Smackdown, Wrestlemania pay-per-view, live wrestling tours, and umpteen other wrestling-intensive franchises. They were forced to change their name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) after losing a lawsuit with the World Wildlife Fund.
Oop, hogpile! –Pinkbelly! –Ooh, titty twister! Not fair!
A trio of classic methods that bigger kids/siblings use to torment smaller ones. Hogpile is when a group of kids tackle and jump on one kid, pinkbelly is the result of having one’s belly slapped so much it turns pink, and titty twisters are fairly self-explanatory.
Oh, now they’ve gotta call Joan Embery.
Joan Embery, as the longtime “goodwill ambassador” for the San Diego Zoo, appeared on numerous talk shows, along with various zoo critters.
The Malibu Getaway Car.
A reference to the various cars (usually pink) driven by Barbie dolls; one classic model of Barbie doll is the Malibu Barbie, released in 1972.
Do you think you can still schottische?
The schottische is a ballroom dance that became popular in Europe around 1850; it was also known as the Hungarian waltz and the Bavarian polka.
All right, you folks need to turn down the Strauss a little bit—there’s been some complaints.
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
No, I don't know the count and the amount.
On “Dialing for Dollars,” a segment popular on local TV shows during the 1960s and 1970s, the TV host would announce “the count” (the number of people called so far) and “the amount” (the cash prize, which increased as the program went on). The host would then call a random number; if the person had been watching faithfully, they would know the count and the amount and win the money. If the person did not know the answer, the count and the amount would go up and the host would make another call. (Thanks to Sampo for this reference.)
“Her escort was kidnapped.” They kidnapped her car? What was the point of that?
The Ford Escort model debuted in the United States in 1981, although a version had been available in Europe prior to that date. Escorts sold well in the small-car class throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000 Ford began to phase out the line and replace it with the Focus.
“Now that’s an idea.” Put the cheese inside the cracker.
Combos are hollowed-out crackers, pretzels, or tortillas containing various flavors of soft fillings, including cheddar cheese, nacho cheese, and pepperoni pizza. Originally made by Anheuser-Busch brewery's snack division, Eagle Snacks, Combos are now distributed by Mars Incorporated.
“Could furnish us with a clue.” Copernicus?
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was a German astronomer and mathematician. His model of the universe, which places the Sun, not the Earth, in the center of the solar system and was published just before his death in 1543, is considered one of the great revolutionary events in the history of science.
An imitation of Gladys Kravitz, the nosy neighbor on the TV show Bewitched; her husband's name was Abner. (Thanks to Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
[Sung.] You’re a mean one, Mister ...
A line from the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from the classic animated Christmas special How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The lyrics were written by Dr. Seuss and the music was by Albert Hague. Sample lyrics: “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch/You really are a heel/You’re as cuddly as a cactus/You’re as charming as an eel/Mr. Grinch.”
Now let’s get back to the party and Strauss out!
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
Let’s get you back to The Lawrence Welk Show.
The Lawrence Welk Show was a television series that ran from 1955-1982. It was a variety show featuring skits and musical numbers; host Lawrence Welk (1903-1992) led the band for 27 years.
Phyllis Newman has gone nuts!
Actress Phyllis Newman was a well-known panelist on game shows in the 1960s and ‘70s, appearing on What’s My Line?, Match Game, and To Tell the Truth.
Fiends are visiting from Europe.
A riff on the line “Friends are here from Europe,” immortalized in a TV commercial featuring Rula Lenska. Lenska is a Polish-born British actress who became famous in the U.S. in the late 1970s and early 1980s for actually not being famous, but being presented as if she were. A series of commercials for Alberto VO5 hair products began with her saying “I’m Rula Lenska …” in the classic celebrity endorsement style, even though she was virtually unknown to American audiences at the time. Parodies followed quickly: a sketch on Saturday Night Live aired with Jane Curtin playing Lenska, and “Who the hell is Rula Lenska?” became a running gag on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The “Friends are here from Europe” line was also parodied by Jambi the genie in the 1981 HBO special The Pee-wee Herman Show, which became the blueprint for the children’s TV series Pee-wee’s Playhouse (CBS, 1986-1990).
It’s Lucy Ricardo—she wants to be in the show.
Lucy Ricardo was the name of the character played by Lucille Ball on the television series I Love Lucy, which aired from 1951-1957. Lucy Ricardo was a bumbling housewife who was perennially plotting to horn in on her bandleader husband’s show-business career.
This isn’t Strauss!
See note on Johann Strauss, above.
Two for the Vikings—I’ve got two for the Vikings ...
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional football team based in Minneapolis.
Ah, Danny DeVito has arrived.
Danny DeVito is a diminutive actor and director who came to fame playing irascible dispatcher Louie De Palma on the TV series Taxi, which aired from 1978-1983. He has appeared in many films, including Batman Returns and L.A. Confidential; his directing credits include Death to Smoochy and War of the Roses.
[Sung to tune in film.] We will crush the imperialist running dogs …
“Imperialist running dog” is an insult originating from communist China, similar to calling someone a lapdog begging for scraps.
Ew, they’re making the beast with two butts.
“Making the beast with two backs” is a slang term for the act of sexual intercourse; it first appears in Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel: la bête à deux dos.
They were the inspiration for the Pilobolus dance company.
The Pilobolus Dance Theatre is a dance troupe based in Connecticut. It has toured around the world and appeared on television and in dance festivals.
I was sent by Fantasy Gram.
Fantasy Grams appears to be a singing telegram service in Minneapolis.
[Sung.] When a man loves a wrestler ...
A parody of the Percy Sledge song “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Actual lyrics: “When a man loves a woman/Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else/He’ll trade the world/For the good thing he found.”
Mr. Wrestler, are you trying to seduce me?
A paraphrase of the world-famous line from 1967 film The Graduate, spoken by Dustin Hoffman to the leggy Anne Bancroft: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.”
This scene was cut out of Spartacus.
Spartacus was a 1960 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. It starred Kirk Douglas as the slave who leads a revolt against the Roman Empire. A 1991 version restored a deleted scene in which Laurence Olivier tries to seduce Tony Curtis in a hot tub.
Oh, it’s a Robert Mapplethorpe photo session.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his homoerotic photographs of nude men.
You have a kind face.
An imitation of John Hurt in the film The Elephant Man, based on the true story of a severely deformed man in the 19th century.
Come to the dark side or I’ll take your lunch money!
“Come to the dark side” is a reference to the Star Wars trilogy, although Darth Vader never actually uses that phrase in urging Luke Skywalker to join him; it thus enters popular culture alongside “Play it again, Sam” and “Me Tarzan, you Jane.”
This is one of the weirder parts of the Menendez trial.
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.
I can see why Cyndi Lauper loves this sport so.
Cyndi Lauper is a pop singer who first made it big in 1983 with the release of her album She’s So Unusual. The album sold 9 million copies and produced four top 10 singles, including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and “Time After Time.” She was briefly involved in pro wrestling in the mid-‘80s, acting as “manager”/sidekick to wrestler Wendi Richter.
Andy El Kaufman!
Andy Kaufman (1949-1984) was a comedian and actor who was known for pulling bizarre stunts as part of his concert performances, like the time he took his entire Carnegie Hall audience out for milk and cookies via 35 waiting buses. A wrestling act was part of his performances for years; he often wrestled women, including Playboy centerfold Susan Smith. He had a legendary “feud” with pro wrestler Jerry Lawler, which culminated in a 1982 fistfight during an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman. Lawler has since confirmed that the fight was staged and claims that the two were quite good friends in real life.
You know, the second Schmeling-Satan fight went on for 15 rounds.
Max Schmeling (1905-2005) was a German heavyweight boxer who fought two legendary bouts with American boxer Joe Louis. In the first of these matches, fought in 1936, Schmeling knocked out Louis in the twelfth round. The rematch, which took place in 1938 as Nazi Germany was gearing up for war, was seen as a symbolic clash between Nazism and democracy; democracy scored a resounding victory when Louis knocked out Schmeling in the first round. Schmeling served as a German paratrooper in WWII and continued his boxing career after the war ended, retiring in 1948.
Nobody likes me.
An imitation of Droopy, the basset hound with drooping jowls and a slow, deadpan delivery who appeared in twenty-four theatrical shorts released by MGM between 1943 and 1958, and in various other cartoons and reboots. Created by Tex Avery, Droopy was based on the character Wallace Wimple from the radio comedy Fibber McGee & Molly, and was voiced by Bill Thompson (who also voiced Wallace), as well as Don Messick and occasionally Avery himself. “I don’t like you,” or some variation, was one of Droopy’s signature catchphrases.
This is what would happen if Don King took over opera.
Don King is a legendary boxing promoter who first rose to prominence promoting the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match in Zaire between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. He managed seven of Ali’s title bouts, including the “Thrilla in Manila” against Joe Frazier, considered one of the greatest boxing matches of all time. He also promoted fights with other boxing greats, including George Foreman, Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson.
Ah, yes, the sport John Irving wrote about so eloquently.
Author John Irving (The World According to Garp) is a wrestling fanatic who has a regulation-size wrestling mat in his home gym. T.S. Garp, the hero of The World According to Garp, works as a wrestling coach (as has Irving), and Irving wrote a memoir about his wrestling experiences, The Imaginary Girlfriend.
This is very much like The Quiet Man, except they’re Mexicans in tights and one of them is the devil.
The Quiet Man (1952) is a film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an Irish-American boxer who returns to Ireland to reclaim his family’s homestead and falls in love with his chief rival’s sister, played by Maureen O’Hara.
I bet the whole place smells like Brie by now.
Brie is a soft cow’s-milk cheese named for the area in northern France where it originated.
And the crowd goes wild. –Yayyyy.
This was a running gag in a series of short cartoons about race driver Tom Slick in the 1960s animated series George of the Jungle. The gag was riffed extensively in the short Junior Rodeo Daredevils, which ran in Show 407, The Killer Shrews.
Just think, the audience could have been seeing jai alai, or cockfighting.
Jai alai is a sport that originated in the Basque regions of Spain and France and is popular in Latin America and the Philippines. It involves throwing a ball at up to 200 mph (jai alai is billed as “The Fastest Sport in the World,” and fatalities are not unheard of), using a scoop-like device. Cockfighting is a blood sport that pits two roosters against each other, often with razors or knife blades attached to their legs. With origins in Persia dating back more than 6,000 years, cockfighting remains popular, though outlawed and underground, in Latin America and Cuba. In the 1950s and ‘60s, jai alai and cockfighting were A-list attractions for tourists visiting Mexico, particularly in the border city of Tijuana.
Samson trained by watching Road Runner cartoons.
The Road Runner was a character created by animator Chuck Jones (1912-2002) for Warner Brothers animated shorts. In the cartoons, the hapless Wile E. Coyote tries various elaborate schemes to catch and eat the speedy Road Runner, all of which failed (painfully).
The facial peel is ready to come off now.
A facial peel can involve any number of skin treatments. Generally performed in beauty parlors or spas, the basic idea is to apply some sort of plaster-like mask to the face and then either peel or wash it off, thereby cleansing and exfoliating the skin.
Wow, chicken wings.
Chicken wings, also called Buffalo wings, are a ubiquitous bar and tavern snack: unbreaded, fried chicken wings coated with an often-spicy sauce and traditionally served with celery and/or carrot sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing. Origin stories vary, but the best known claims they were created at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, in 1964.
Oh, it’s gonna be Peter Lupus.
Peter Lupus is a bodybuilder and actor, best known for playing Willy Armitage in the Mission: Impossible TV series.
It’s an Oak Ridge Boy!
The Oak Ridge Boys are a country-music band with longish hair. William Lee Golden in particular has had an increasingly majestic beard over the years. Their hits include “Elvira,” “Bobbie Sue,” and “Dream On.”
Pan, Texas Ranger.
Walker, Texas Ranger was a television series that aired from 1993-2001. It starred martial artist Chuck Norris as Cordell Walker, a Texas lawman who kicked and punched crime into submission. Pan was a fertility deity in ancient Greek mythology who had the horns, legs, and ears of a goat.
Satan! Satan! Satan!
Satan (a.k.a. the Devil) is the personification of evil, primarily featuring in Christian and Islamic traditions. He is most often described as a “fallen angel” of God, though his initial job seems to have been as a prosecutor of sorts, sent to test men’s faith.
Mothra is attacking the city!
Mothra was a 1961 Japanese monster movie about a giant moth that levels Tokyo. Mothra went up against the quintessential Japanese monster in 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla.
Run! It’s Butch Patrick!
Child actor Butch Patrick played werewolf Eddie Munster on the TV series The Munsters, which aired from 1964-1966.
This is Howard Cosell. How can this be considered a legitimate sport?
See note on Howard Cosell, above. In 1982 Cosell famously denounced a boxing match between Larry Holmes and Randall "Tex" Cobb, in which Holmes won all fifteen rounds and which so horrified Cosell with its brutality and unfairness (he thought the match should have been called far earlier) that he never broadcast another boxing match.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Judds.
Naomi and Wynonna Judd were a mother/daughter country-western duo whose hits include “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “I Saw the Light.” Naomi retired in 1991 after being diagnosed with hepatitis C. Wynonna continued to tour on her own, and in 2000 the duo reunited for their “Power to Change” tour.
[Sung.] Sisters, sisters/Never were there such devoted sisters ...
A paraphrase of the Irving Berlin song “Sisters,” made famous in the 1954 film White Christmas. The actual lyrics: “Sisters, sisters/There were never such devoted sisters.”
Which twin has the Toni?
An ad slogan for Toni, an early brand of home permanent that used pairs of twins in ads—one with a home perm and one with a salon perm.
Okay then, let’s get a Bloody Mary, two straws, a blood sausage, and some blood pudding.
A Bloody Mary is a cocktail usually consisting of, but not limited to: vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, pepper, and celery salt, garnished with a stalk of celery. Popular with brunch and often proclaimed as a “hair of the dog” hangover cure, infinite variations of the basic Bloody Mary recipe and its garnishes—including bacon strips and deep-fried onion rings—are offered around the world. Blood sausage is made by filling a sausage casing with pig, cow, sheep, or goat blood mixed with filler such as meat, fat, cornmeal, onion, etc. and then cooking and cooling it so the blood congeals. Blood pudding, also called black pudding, is a type of blood sausage popular in England and Ireland; it is usually served grilled or fried.
Lillian Hellman on a bad day.
Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) was a playwright and screenwriter whose best-known works include The Children’s Hour and The Little Foxes. She had a long-term relationship with novelist Dashiell Hammett that lasted until his death in 1961.
The food here is terrible! –And the portions so small.
This is a joke from the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall. The actual line: “There’s an old joke. Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort, and one of them says, ‘Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.’ The other one says, ‘Yeah, I know, and such small portions.’ That’s essentially how I feel about life.”
Where devils go, trouble follows.
A reference to the 1968 film Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows, starring Rosalind Russell and Stella Stevens.
It’s a cool fang funny car.
Funny Cars are souped-up drag racers that can reach speeds of 300 mph in a 1,000-foot race.
It’s the vampire version of Goodfellas.
Goodfellas is a 1990 Martin Scorsese film about three mobsters working their way up through the ranks of the Mafia. It stars Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci.
The Keystone Vampires.
The Keystone Kops were a group of wildly incompetent policemen who starred in a series of short silent films for Mack Sennett’s Keystone Film Co. between 1912 and 1917. Their films include Hoffmeyer’s Legacy and The Bangville Police.
C’mere, you mortal son of a bitch.
Possibly an imitation of George C. Scott as General George S. Patton in the film Patton. In real life, Patton’s voice was high-pitched and nasal.
Circus of the Network Vampires.
Circus of the Stars was an annual television special that ran from 1977 to 1994. It featured assorted actors performing traditional circus acts. Performers in the first Circus included George Hamilton and Lynda Carter; performers in 1991 included William Katt and Tracy Scoggins. There was a similar show called Battle of the Network Stars that featured teams of actors competing in various events; those specials ran from 1976-1984.
The Flying Nosferatu Brothers.
The Flying Karamazov Brothers are a troupe of jugglers who have been performing since 1973 everywhere from street corners to Lincoln Center. They are named after the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel The Brothers Karamazov. Nosferatu is a 1922 silent film by famed German director F.W Murnau; it starred Max Schreck as the Dracula-esque Count Orlok.
Okay, well, up, up and … ah, geez.
The phrase “up, up, and away!” originated on the ‘40s Superman radio show, to indicate to listeners when the Man of Steel had taken flight.
Death Race Liberace.
Death Race 2000 is a 1975 movie about a brutal cross-country road race that starred David Carradine and an unknown Sylvester Stallone, who one year later made a little film called Rocky. It was remade as Death Race in 2008. Liberace (1919-1987) was a flamboyant performer known for his elaborate costumes, candelabra, and performances on his custom grand piano. His syndicated TV series The Liberace Show aired from 1952-1969.
Our Lady of Fatima is back, and she’s pissed.
From May-October 1917, three children in Fatima, Portugal, reported repeated visitations by a vision of the Virgin Mary, who was dubbed Our Lady of Fatima. She gave three messages to the children; the first two were made public and have generally been considered to have predicted the world wars and the eventual fall of communism. The third was kept secret by the Church until 2000, when it announced the message had predicted the 1981 assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II.
It’s a sign that says “Wall Drug, 10,000 miles.”
Wall Drug is a pharmacy/tourist trap in the tiny town of Wall, South Dakota. It employs some third of the town’s residents to tend to the free ice-water well, the bucking bronco, the fiberglass jackalope, the miniature Mount Rushmore, the animatronic bears, and, as an afterthought, the pharmacy. For years it blanketed the nation’s highways with signs advising motorists of how far they were from Wall Drug, although most of the signs outside South Dakota no longer exist. Visitors and fans of the store have been known to put up their own signs advertising the distance to Wall Drug throughout the world, including Antarctica, India, Kenya, and Afghanistan.
Edges light quickly.
This is an old slogan for Kingsford charcoal; it appeared in many an MST3K episode.
Just as soon as I finish this Jumble.
Jumble is a scrambled word game that appears in daily newspapers around the country; they also have a “junior” version aimed at kids.
There. I really read him the riot act.
The Riot Act was passed by the British Parliament in 1714; it gave local authorities the power to disperse any group of twelve or more people with the threat of imprisonment. Authorities were required to read a proclamation aloud before dispersing a crowd, and the phrase “read him the riot act” has come to mean giving someone a stern warning or reprimand.
“I think ...” ... therefore I am.
This is a translation of French philosopher Rene Descartes’ famous statement “Cogito ergo sum.”
John Forsythe in Bachelor Father!
Bachelor Father was a television series that aired from 1957-1962. It starred John Forsythe (1918-2010) as Bentley Gregg, a bachelor who finds himself in charge of his teenage niece Kelly. Forsythe went on to play the voice of “Charlie” on Charlie’s Angels and patriarch Blake Carrington on the prime-time soap Dynasty.
Meanwhile, in Little Chute, Wisconsin ...
The phrase “Meanwhile, back at _____” originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators in films and radio and television shows. Little Chute is a small town on the Fox River in Wisconsin, about halfway between Green Bay and Oshkosh. Population: 10,000.
Maybe if Cortés had never conquered Montezuma, we would not have had to watch this movie.
In 1519, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés landed on the coast of Mexico. The Aztec Empire, ruled by Montezuma, was embroiled in a political crisis that made it easy pickings for Cortes’ 500 men. He captured Montezuma, laid siege to the capital city of Tenochtitlan, and by 1521 had conquered the empire.
[Sung.] Go, El Santo/Go, El Santo/Go, El Santo, go.
A paraphrase of the theme song to the Japanese animated show Speed Racer. The actual lyrics: “Go Speed Racer/Go Speed Racer/Go Speed Racer go.”
They moved the action to the Ardennes.
The Ardennes is a wooded plateau stretching across parts of Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. It was the location of horrific battles in 1914 and 1918 during World War I and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
[Sung.] See the Mexico/In your Chevrolet.
A parody of an old advertising jingle sung most famously by Dinah Shore. The actual lyrics: “See the USA/In your Chevrolet.”
If a wrestler falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it count as a fall?
A parody of the old philosophy question used to stump high school students: “If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Peter Garrett stars in a very special ER.
Peter Garrett was the lead singer for Australian rock band Midnight Oil for 29 years. ER is a television series created by Michael Crichton that first aired in 1994. It launched George Clooney on his career as a Hollywood hunk. Promos for upcoming TV shows promising “a very special episode” of a drama or sitcom are a tip-off that the show will attempt to tackle a social issue, such as underage drinking or eating disorders. People will learn a valuable lesson. There will be hugs.
Do we honestly need another remake of Little Women?
Little Women is a beloved children’s book by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) that was first published in 1868. More than ten different filmed versions have been made, starting in 1917. Of these, the most famous is the 1933 version, starring Katharine Hepburn as Jo.
Ah, another HUD home for sale.
“HUD” stands for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD homes are homes that were bought with a HUD-insured mortgage, and then defaulted on. HUD then forecloses on the home, pays off the lender, and sells the home itself. They tend to be located in lower- and middle-income neighborhoods.
[Sung.] Whooo! Whooo are you?
A line from the 1978 song “Who Are You” by, naturally, The Who.
It’s a cage match!
Cage matches are pro wrestling matches that surround the ring with a barrier, usually chain-link fencing. Sometimes, for extra fun, the cage is electrified.
Oh, I hope it isn’t Allen Ludden!
Allen Ludden hosted the long-running game show Password and was married to Betty White for nearly 20 years.
Movietone News presents The March of Time.
Movietone News was the name of a series of weekly newsreels produced during the first half of the 20th century, to be shown in movie theaters before the main feature. Competition from television news shows and documentaries squeezed the last of the weekly newsreels out by the late 1950s. The March of Time was a newsreel produced by Time Inc. from 1935-1951 that combined news footage with “dramatic reenactments.”
Damn Martha Graham dancers.
Martha Graham (1894-1991) was a dancer and choreographer who founded her own dance company in 1926. The Martha Graham Dance Company still performs; there is also a school of dance with a troupe of student performers. She is considered one of the most influential dancers of the 20th century.
Ah, damn, all the biffys are full.
“Biffy” is slang in the Upper Midwest for an outdoor toilet.
Well, I’ll just let God sort ‘em out.
A paraphrase of the line “Kill them all and let God sort them out,” frequently uttered by, shall we say, the more jingoistic among us, particularly when a new military campaign is undertaken. Believe it or not, the phrase dates back to 1209. It is attributed to Catholic papal legate and inquisitor Arnaud Amalric (d. 1225). He attempted to convert a rogue group of Christians living in southern France, and when persuasion failed, he initiated a crusade against them (the Albigensian Crusade). When one of the soldiers asked him how to distinguish “their” Christians from “our” Christians, Amalric reportedly responded, in Latin, “Kill them all. For the Lord knoweth them that are His.” The soldiers enthusiastically went on to slaughter almost 20,000 men, women, and children and burned the city of Béziers, according to Amalric’s report to the pope.
Honey, I hate to tell you this, but an android from the future is going to come and kill you so you won’t give birth.
The Terminator was a 1984 movie, directed by James Cameron, that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger as a killer robot who comes back through time to find and kill a young woman named Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton), who is about to become the mother of the human rebel leader who, decades hence, will destroy the machines that have taken over the world. The film spawned several sequels.
A thundering tire, a flashing turn signal and a hearty “Hi-yo, Silver!”
The opening narration for The Lone Ranger, on both television and radio, was "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty, 'Hi-yo, Silver, away!'" The narration was performed by Fred Foy on radio and in TV syndication; Gerald Mohr did the opening during the TV series' original run (1949-1957). (Thanks to Paul Castaldi for this reference.)