809: I Was a Teenage Werewolf
by Wyn Hilty
[Title: “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.”] Of London! –You are not drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s, young man, you’re just not old enough.
A reference to the song “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. Sample lyrics: “I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's/His hair was perfect.”
[Sung to the tune of the Bonanza theme.] We got a movie and it’s starring Michael Landon …
Bonanza is a TV western drama that aired on NBC from 1959 to 1973. At 430 episodes, it is the second longest-running western drama series, behind Gunsmoke (CBS, 1955-1975; 635 episodes). The show focused on the Cartwright family: widowed rancher and patriarch Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene) and his three sons, each by a different wife: Adam (Pernell Roberts), Hoss (Dan Blocker), and Little Joe (Michael Landon). Bonanza was at the vanguard of American television’s conversion to color programs, and though the characters were beloved and iconic, they were also the source of many parodies, often pointing out that the father and eldest sons appeared to be very nearly the same age (Greene was just 15 years older than both Roberts and Blocker).
I was a teenage werewolf until that summer of passion when I became a man.
A possible reference to the 1971 film (and its subsequent novelization) Summer of ’42, which were both written by Herman Raucher, based on his memoirs. It’s the story of a teenage boy summering on Nantucket Island; he falls for a young woman whose husband is off fighting World War II.
Filmed on Joan Collins’ bed sheets.
Joan Collins is an actress who is best known for her role as Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan on the TV prime time soap opera Dynasty, which aired from 1981-1989. She has been married five times, and her name has been linked romantically with a number of other celebrities, including Dennis Hopper and Warren Beatty.
[Credit: Hair Stylist - Fae Smith.] Fae, make sure his hair is perfect.
Another riff on “Werewolves of London” (see previous note). Fae Smith (1905-1969) also worked as a hair stylist on such Hollywood classics as The Ten Commandments (1956), The Searchers (1956), and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967).
[Sung.] Teenage werewolf ...
A paraphrase of a line from the song “Baba O’Riley” by The Who. Actual lyrics: “Teenage wasteland/It's only teenage wasteland.”
It’s tough to work the Oxy 10 in past the fur.
Oxy 10 is a brand of acne treatment medicine that comes in a variety of forms: spot treatment, face wash, cover-up gel, and so forth.
Ebonics is a legitimate language!
In December 1996, the Oakland, California, school board voted unanimously to recognize “Ebonics,” or the dialect of English used by many American Blacks, as the primary language of its Black students. The vote came as part of an effort to help Black students transition to more universally accepted forms of English by having teachers study Ebonics. Critics of the board’s decision denounced it as political correctness run amok; the board defended its actions by pointing out the high failure rates among Black students in public schools.
We are not getting rid of Goosebumps in the library!
Goosebumps was a popular series of scary children’s books in the mid- to late 1990s; written by R.L. Stine, the books came out at a rate of about one a month, ensuring an endless supply for their fans. However, a number of parents and educators have tried to remove them from school libraries, arguing that the books were nothing but “junk reading” that did little to foster a true appreciation for literature in their young readers.
No mas, no mas!
A reference to the famous Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Durán boxing match that took place on November 25, 1980, in New Orleans. The two had fought five months earlier in Montreal, with Leonard defending his welterweight title, and Durán had won in a unanimous decision. But in the intervening months, Durán had allowed his weight to balloon, and he unfortunately had eaten a heavy meal before the bout. In the eighth round, Durán simply quit, turning his back on Leonard and saying, "No mas" ("No more"). Durán blamed stomach cramps for his decision to forfeit the match and the title to Leonard, but the boxing world was widely shocked and disappointed by his actions. (Thanks to Doug Lewis for this reference.)
A new sport: sophomore tossing!
Dwarf tossing is a sport popular in England and in former British colonies such as Canada and Australia, in which contestants compete to see how far they can throw a dwarf, or little person. A number of attempts have been made to ban the sport in recent years—some successful, some not—over the objections of the dwarves themselves, who see it as an attempt to take away their livelihood.
Ooh—right in the Little Joe!
See above note on Bonanza.
This is not part of the Highway to Heaven.
Highway to Heaven was a television series that aired from 1984-1989. It starred Michael Landon as an angel sent back to earth to help people with their personal problems.
This is for your bedwetting movie!
In 1976, Michael Landon wrote, directed, and starred in the made-for-TV movie The Loneliest Runner. Based on Landon’s own dysfunctional upbringing, it’s the bizarrely ironic story of an adolescent boy who wets the bed, and whose mother hangs the wet sheets out his window for all to see, as a form of punishment. He runs home from school each day to take the sheets down before his friends can see them, which sparks an interest in track and field sports. Cut to ten years later, and the boy is now a gold medal-winning Olympic marathon runner, who thanks his mother for his success.
[Sung.] You get a lot of dirt with werewolves/You get a lot of clean with Tide.
A take on an old advertising jingle: “You get a lot of dirt with children/You get a lot of clean with Tide." (Thanks to Lori Barnes for finding a clip of this commercial online.)
Richard Jewell started it!
On July 26, 1996, a security guard at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, noticed a suspicious backpack near a sound tower during a concert. The guard, a man named Richard Jewell, alerted police and helped try to evacuate the area. When the bomb inside the backpack went off, one person died and more than a hundred others were injured. Days later, the FBI leaked information that it considered Jewell a suspect. Jewell was hounded by law enforcement and reporters for nearly three months before he was cleared of suspicion; he later sued and settled with a number of media organizations. In May 2003, white supremacist Eric Rudolph was arrested and charged with the bombing. Jewell died four years later at the age of 44; he had severe heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
“Tony, I know you can get fresh.” With Summer’s Eve.
Summer’s Eve is a “soap-free wash for a woman’s intimate cleansing needs” that is “designed to leave you feeling clean, fresh and confident”—in other words, it’s used to clean a woman’s genitalia.
Little old lady got mutilated late last night; you kids know anything about it?
Another line from “Werewolves of London” (see above note).
I was reading Modern Maturity ...
Modern Maturity, now called AARP: The Magazine, is the official publication of the American Association of Retired Persons.
I’m sorry—we’ll go pick up Richard Jewell.
See note on Richard Jewell, above.
It contained bovine growth hormone and he turned into a giant cow!
Bovine growth hormone, or bovine somatotropin, is a hormone that some dairy farmers give to their cows in order to boost milk production. Opponents of the practice argue that it poses health risks to people who drink the milk, including higher incidence of cancer; proponents claim it can help create more food to supply an ever-growing global population. The use of BGH is legal in America, but Canada and Europe have banned it, along with most other bioengineered foods.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, popularly known as the Mormons, is a church based in Salt Lake City, Utah, boasting more than 9 million members. It was founded in about 1830 by a man named Joseph Smith. There are several sects of Mormons, including the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
He’s working with Richard Jewell right now.
See note on Richard Jewell, above.
I gotta go throw ricotta at a stock boy.
Ricotta (Italian for “recooked”) is a soft cheese made from the whey of sheep, goat, or cow’s milk that is left over from the making of other cheeses. Its production in Italy dates back to the Bronze Age.
Well, I’d better go work on the Black Dahlia case.
In 1947, the body of a 22-year-old woman named Elizabeth Short (nicknamed the “Black Dahlia” for her black clothes and upswept hairdo) was found in a park in Los Angeles: cut in half at the waist, drained of blood, and with a gruesome smile carved into the corners of her mouth with a knife. The macabre details of the crime ensured sensational media coverage, but despite its high profile and intensive investigation, the case was never solved.
Edgar Winter’s little sister!
Edgar Winter is an albino blues/jazz/experimental musician. He has frequently performed with his older brother, musician Johnny Winter. His best-known song is “Frankenstein,” which hit number one in 1973.
I hit you with that gouda.
Named for the city of Gouda in the Netherlands, gouda is a traditional Dutch yellow cheese made from cow’s milk. The first published mention of gouda dates back to 1184.
I smeared dad with mascarpone last night.
Mascarpone is an Italian cheese made from cream mixed with an acidic substance, usually citrus juice or vinegar. It's the cheese used in the Italian dessert tiramisu.
John Carradine has major booty compared to Michael Landon.
John Carradine (1906-1988) was an iconic, and very tall and thin, American actor who appeared in classic films such as The Grapes of Wrath (1940), and The Ten Commandments (1956). He is the patriarch of the Carradine acting family (four sons and four grandchildren also became actors), and MSTies will remember him from Show 320, The Unearthly, as well as his warbling appearance in Show 619, Red Zone Cuba.
I haven’t killed myself yet, son.
A reference to Show 618, High School Big Shot, which featured Malcolm Atterbury in an almost identical role as the widowed father of a troubled teen boy. In High School Big Shot, though, the dad was even more depressed and depressing than the dad in this movie, and ultimately committed suicide. Good times.
Son, your blow comb is grounded.
A blow comb is a small appliance that combines a hair dryer and a comb. Style while you dry.
What am I going to put on my Cocoa Puffs?
Cocoa Puffs is a chocolate-flavored kiddie cereal manufactured by General Mills.
Dad played by H.L. Mencken.
H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) was a journalist, critic, and professional curmudgeon known for his scathing wit. His favorite target: the entrenched power structure of the middle class, whom he referred to scornfully as the “booboisie.”
Jabba the Husband.
Jabba the Hutt is a character from the Star Wars trilogy of films by George Lucas. A large, sluglike creature, Jabba was a kingpin of crime with a hefty grudge against one Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford). Although he is mentioned in the first two films of the trilogy, he appears only in the third, Return of the Jedi. (He has a cameo in The Phantom Menace, giving the order for a podrace to begin on Tatooine, and appears in the Special Edition of Star Wars in an added scene, which was released in 1997.)
What’s he playing—Vulcan solitaire?
Vulcans are the pointy-eared, slanty-eyebrowed, green-blooded, logic-spewing aliens of the Star Trek universe.
Mamie Eisenhower (1896-1979) was the wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969). Eisenhower, nicknamed “Ike,” was the supreme commander of the victorious Allied forces during World War II (1939-1945). After the war, he ran for president as a Republican and won twice, serving from 1953-1961.
Another Ensure, mother?
Ensure is a nutritional drink that boasts of containing vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. It is manufactured by Ross Products.
Mom got her hair styled like Aaron Burr.
Aaron Burr (1756-1836) was the third vice-president of the United States, under President Thomas Jefferson. In 1804 he killed his hated political rival Alexander Hamilton in a duel and had to flee to Philadelphia. Three years later he was charged with treason for a plot to get the western territories to secede and form an independent nation. He was acquitted, but the charge followed him for the rest of his life.
Mom’s inside, licking Metamucil off Dad.
Metamucil is a bulk fiber laxative that comes in powdered form; when mixed with water or juice, it acts to relieve constipation.
I love you, Resusci-Annie.
Resusci-Annie is a realistic mannequin that has been used to train people to perform CPR since 1960. Her face is based on the death mask of a young drowning victim pulled from the Seine in France at the turn of the century. Since her identity was never established, romantic stories circulated in which she threw herself into the river due to unrequited love, and copies of her death mask became a popular decoration throughout Europe. She was known as “L’Inconnue de la Seine,” or “The unknown woman of the Seine.” Dr. Forrester used a Resusci-Annie as a ventriloquist dummy during the invention exchange in Show 404, Teenagers From Outer Space.
Bruno Hauptmann and Julie Nixon cut up on the dance floor.
Bruno Hauptmann (1899-1936) was a German-born carpenter who in 1935 was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. He was executed—still maintaining his innocence—the following year. Julie Nixon Eisenhower is the daughter of disgraced President Richard M. Nixon. She married David Eisenhower, the grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1968 and worked for both of her father’s successful campaigns for the White House.
Guitarist Mel Bay rocks the house.
Mel Bay (1913-1997) was a musician whose company, Mel Bay Publications, produces music instruction books. His Modern Guitar Method series has sold more than 20 million copies.
They’re listening to Kind of White.
The 1959 album Kind of Blue is considered by many critics to be jazz trumpeter Miles Davis’s masterpiece. Davis (1926-1991) played a seminal role in jazz movements in the 1950s and ’60s and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Kind of Blue remains the top-selling jazz album of all time.
She’s dressed to dance the shipoopi.
Probably a reference to the song “Shipoopi” from the musical The Music Man. Sample lyrics: “Shipoopi, Shipoopi, Shipoopi/The girl is hard to get/Shipoopi, Shipoopi, Shipoopi/But you can win her yet.”
You can smell reefer, Tide, and mildew down here.
Reefer is a slang term for marijuana. Tide is a brand of laundry detergent manufactured by Procter & Gamble.
Ginsberg, Corso, nice to see ya.
Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) was a poet and a founding father of the Beat movement, whose angst he expressed in works like “Howl.” Gregory Corso (1930-2001) was also part of the inner circle of Beat poets and writers, alongside Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac.
We got ... the beat ... we ... um ...
A riff on the song “We Got the Beat” by the Go-Go’s. Sample lyrics: “Do the watusi just give us a chance/That's when we fall in line/We got the beat.”
She’s Baby Snooks!
Baby Snooks was a radio persona created by comedian Fanny Brice (1891-1951). Baby was a lisping tot whose unending innocent curiosity drove her father to distraction. She proved so popular that she got her own radio show in 1944, The Baby Snooks Show, which aired until Brice’s death in 1951.
You know, my dog told me something interesting today … the blood of my victims cleanses the earth … yeah …
David Berkowitz, better known as the serial killer Son of Sam, killed six people and shot several others in New York City in 1976 and 1977. When he was apprehended, he told police he had been ordered to commit the murders by a former neighbor, Sam Carr, with the messages relayed to him by Carr’s “demonic” dog, a black Labrador named Harvey. While a massive manhunt was underway, Berkowitz taunted the police and the press with a series of letters signed “Son of Sam,” which promised further killings and made lots of references to the blood of his victims.
Donna Reed and Ben Hogan.
Donna Reed (1921-1986) was an actress who personified the wholesome 1950s woman. She acted in numerous movies, including It’s a Wonderful Life and The Man Who Knew Too Much, and had her own TV series, The Donna Reed Show, which aired from 1958 to 1966. Ben Hogan (1912-1997) was a professional golfer, one of only four to win all four PGA major tournaments. He suffered terrible injuries in a 1949 car accident, but rebounded to continue his career until retiring in the mid-1950s.
Can I get a Manhattan here?
A Manhattan is a cocktail consisting of bourbon, dry vermouth, and bitters.
Donny Most (or Don Most, as he’s now known) played Ralph Malph on the television sitcom Happy Days, which aired from 1974-1984. Ralph Malph’s character was defined by his twin obsessions: chasing girls and playing practical jokes.
Elvis J. Pollard.
Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, was one of the most popular musicians from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42. Michael J. Pollard (born Michael J. Pollack Jr., 1939-2019) was an American actor whose best-known role is that of C.W. Moss in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. With his nerdy, almost elfin appearance, he played more than 100 character parts in films and TV shows. Deep trivia: Canadian actor Michael J. Fox’s actual middle name is Andrew; to avoid having his name sound like “a fox” or the Canadian “eh?”, he changed it to Michael J. Fox in a tribute to Michael J. Pollard.
[Sung.] Tomorrow belongs to me ...
A line from the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” from the musical Cabaret. Sample lyrics: “The sun on the meadow is summery warm/The stag in the forest runs free/But gather together to greet the storm/Tomorrow belongs to me.”
[Sung.] London calling, said I was there too ...
A paraphrase of a line from the song “London Calling” by the Clash. Actual lyrics: “London calling, yeah, I was there too/An’ you know what they said? Well, some of it was true!”
The dance team of Cissy and sissy.
Claire “Cissy” King is a blonde dancer and singer best known as a regular performer on The Lawrence Welk Show (1955-1982). Her dance partner was Bobby Burgess; they were frequently referred to on the show as "Bobby and Cissy."
Suddenly, it’s a bad Dick Van Dyke Show.
The Dick Van Dyke Show was a television sitcom that aired from 1961-1966. It starred Dick Van Dyke as TV writer Rob Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore (1936-2017) as his wife, Laura.
Whisky a Go-Go really hadn’t found its hipness yet.
The Whisky a Go-Go is a club in Los Angeles, California. It was the place to see and be seen in LA in the 1960s and is credited with inventing the concept of go-go dancers. It helped launch Johnny Rivers and the Doors, among other acts.
This is going over just as well as Letterman’s “Uma-Oprah” thing at the Oscars.
David Letterman is a former late-night talk show host known for his offbeat sense of humor. In 1995 he hosted the Academy Awards ceremony, an occasion that saw as a running gag the unending repetition of “Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Uma”—a reference to actress Uma Thurman and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey. The joke flopped painfully, and Letterman was not asked to reprise his hosting duties the next year.
Ultimately, thank God for MTV, you know?
MTV, or Music Television, is a basic cable channel launched in 1981. It used to play a continuous stream of music videos produced by record labels, quickly growing into an industry behemoth that could make or break an artist, and made physical appearance and visual style increasingly important components of the music biz. Over time the channel turned away from music videos, focusing instead on pseudo-reality programs, game shows, and bandstand-style dance showcases; in 2010, MTV dropped “Music Television” from its logo, along with any pretense that its programming had anything to do with music.
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 live-action films.
Cab Calloway (1907-1994) was one of the best-beloved bandleaders of the swing era. His orchestra performed regularly at the famous Cotton Club during the Harlem Renaissance. Calloway was also a tremendously talented singer, an ability showcased in songs like “Kickin’ the Gong Around” and his signature tune, “Minnie the Moocher.”
Amateur Night at the Apollo.
The Apollo Theater is a performing-arts venue in New York City that has served as a showcase for emerging black and Latino performers. Its Amateur Nights, which have been held since 1934, launched the careers of Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, and Michael Jackson, among others.
Cindy Lou Bozo!
Cindy Lou Who, “who was no more than two,” is a character from the classic 1966 TV special How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, based on the book by Dr. Seuss. Cindy almost foils the Grinch’s plans when she wanders sleepily out of bed while he’s stripping her home of everything festive. Her voice was supplied by June Foray, who also voiced Rocky the squirrel on Rocky and Bullwinkle. Bozo the Clown is a much-beloved children’s character first introduced as the star of a series of children’s books in the 1940s. He quickly got his own television show, and soon there were Bozo shows springing up in local markets across the country. Although there were many actors who portrayed Bozo, probably the most famous was Chicago’s Bob Bell, who appeared as the clown on WGN from 1960 to 1984. Joey D’Auria replaced him and became the last Bozo on the airwaves when the show finally went dark in 2001.
Let us call it rock & roll and it will sweep the nation.
Rock & roll evolved in the United States from the late 1940s into the early ’50s, a mixed bag of blues, jazz, gospel, country, and swing. There is a 1934 song by the Boswell Sisters titled “Rock and Roll,” but the term “rock & roll” to define the new genre of music was popularized by Cleveland, Ohio, disc jockey Alan Freed around 1951.
She makes Sandy Duncan look like Bette Davis.
Sandy Duncan is an actress who has appeared on TV shows and in stage productions and movies. She usually plays deeply wholesome parts and has appeared in a number of Disney films. Bette Davis (1908-1989) was an Oscar-winning actress whose career spanned many decades; she was known for her dark, deep-set eyes and her sultry on-screen persona.
How’m I doin’?
Ed Koch (1924-2013) was the three-time mayor of New York City, from 1978-1989. His well-known catchphrase was “How’m I doin’?”
John Paul II.
Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) served as the head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005. He was known for his commitment to peace and his efforts to reach out to members of other religions, although his views on social issues such as birth control and gay rights often failed to keep pace with modern society.
The Carnival of Souls boyfriend.
Carnival of Souls was a 1962 horror flick that starred Candace Hilligloss as the sole survivor of a deadly car accident.
Well, off to Vietnam, I guess.
The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was a clash between the government of South Vietnam and its United States ally against the communist government of North Vietnam, which was seeking to unite the country under its rule. The United States was drawn into the war as part of its Cold War effort to stave off “communist aggression” throughout the world. In this case it failed: after it finally pulled out in 1975, the North Vietnamese quickly overwhelmed the remaining South Vietnamese resistance. The conflict cost the U.S. billions of dollars, the credibility of the government in the eyes of its citizens (the term “credibility gap” stems from this era), and the lives of more than 50,000 Americans.
Ha! Pig’s blood, pig’s blood!
A reference to the climactic scene in the 1976 film Carrie (based on the Stephen King novel of the same name), in which a group of malicious teenagers dumps buckets of pig’s blood over school outcast Carrie (Sissy Spacek) at the prom. The consequences are not good.
Sock Hop of the Damned.
Sock hops were a popular custom in the 1950s: dances in which the attendees would remove their shoes and dance in their stocking feet. Often they were held in school gymnasiums, where street shoes were verboten. Village of the Damned is a 1960 horror flick about a small English village tormented by a group of mysterious, platinum-haired children. It was remade by John Carpenter in 1995.
I thought I was Dale.
The origin of this often-used quip is a hotly debated topic online, with some claiming the phrase “Mrs. Burke, I thought you were Dale!” comes from an Ivory Soap commercial and others claiming it is from a Grape-Nuts commercial. The definitive Official MST3K FAQ explains it thusly: “Actually, these references are all a mistake by Best Brains. Here's the whole story. Back in the 1970s, there was a series of commercials for Ivory dishwashing liquid, in which mothers were mistaken for their daughters—because the mom used Ivory and so her hands were young-looking. At around the same time, there was also a commercial for Grape Nuts, in which a teenage boy mistakes teenage girl Dale's mother for Dale and utters the deathless line: ‘I thought you were Dale!’ Best Brains only vaguely remembered these two commercials, and apparently mixed them up in their minds. There were apparently never any Ivory Liquid commercials in which a character said ‘I thought you were Dale!’ And the Grape Nuts commercial in which that line was spoken had nothing to do with hands. So basically they goofed. But the writers thought they were making a reference to the Ivory Liquid commercials.”
I thought it was all right if I picked a little fight Bonanza?
A reference to the theme song to the TV series Bonanza (see above note). A sampling of the actual lyrics: “Here in the west, we're livin' in the best/Bonanza/If anyone fights any one of us, he's got a fight with me.”
And Hoss signs the commitment papers.
Eric “Hoss” Cartwright was one of the brothers on the TV series Bonanza (see above note). The part was played by Dan Blocker until his death in 1972.
Erich von Stroheim, nurse’s aide.
Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957) was an actor and director who hit his peak of fame in the silent-film era of the 1920s and ‘30s. As an actor, he specialized in villainous womanizer roles (and was dubbed “The Man You Love to Hate”). As a director, he is best remembered for his 1925 epic Greed, which is considered by some critics one of the best films ever made. Unfortunately, its initial cut clocked in at four hours, and the studio only released it in a butchered two-hour version. A restored version, using still photographs from the production, was released in 1999.
I directed Greed, now dis.
See previous note.
It’s called Mega Wolf 2000.
A reference to the Mega Mass 2000 weight gain supplement manufactured by Weider as a dietary aid to help bodybuilders bulk up.
Now that's a snappy tomato!
An advertising tagline for Snap-E-Tom, a tomato juice/chile concoction. (Thanks to Christopher Brame for this reference.)
He has buns of steel!
Buns of Steel is a line of exercise videos that focus on developing the gluteus maximus muscles.
"No, no, no, Alfred. You can trust me." [Imitating Peter Lorre.] Rick.
In the 1942 film Casablanca, playing Ugarte, Peter Lorre says to Rick (Humphrey Bogart), "You know, Rick, I have many friends in Casablanca, but somehow, just because you despise me, you're the only one I trust." (Thanks to Jacob Kempfert for this reference.)
Or I could invent no-iron sheets.
No-iron sheets were a post-World War II innovation that were marketed as a labor-free alternative to easily wrinkled cotton sheets; they were generally polyester or a poly-cotton blend that had been treated with a formaldehyde resin.
[Sung.] The spike goes in my vein and things aren't quite the same Bonanza ..."
See above note on the Bonanza theme song. Also a reference to the Velvet Underground song "Heroin," off their 1967 debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico. Actual lyrics: "When I put a spike into my vein/And I'll tell ya, things aren't quite the same ..." (Thanks to Reginald Esterhase for the Velvet Underground reference.)
Now go spot some trains.
Trainspotting is a 1996 film directed by Danny Boyle about a young man (played by Ewan McGregor) trying to get out of the drug scene in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Well, that was the needle, the damage is done. Why don’t you schedule another appointment with the receptionist?
A riff on the 1972 Neil Young song “The Needle and the Damage Done.” Sample lyrics: “I've seen the needle and the damage done/A little part of it in everyone/But every junkie's like a settin' sun.”
I am the words, you are the tune—play me.
This is a paraphrase of the Neil Diamond song “Play Me.” Actual lyrics: “You are the sun/I am the moon/You are the words/I am the tune/Play me.”
“We’re going…” To Davenport.
There are eight cities in the United States named Davenport, the largest being Davenport, Iowa.
"99 ..." Yes, Max.
A reference to the spoof spy series Get Smart, which aired from 1965-1970. Agent 99 and Max Smart were the main characters on the show. (Thanks to Blake Maddux for this reference.)
I go tell Father Murphy.
Father Murphy was a television western that aired from 1981-1983. It starred Merlin Olsen (1940-2010) as the title character. (MSTies may be familiar with Olsen from his role as the oafish henchman Benton in Show 512, Mitchell.)
“I run after him.” Wetting my pants as I go.
See note on The Loneliest Runner, above.
He studied mumbling with David Duchovny.
David Duchovny is an actor best known for his portrayal of FBI agent Fox Mulder on the television seriesThe X-Files, which aired from 1993-2002. He has a characteristic understated, monotonal delivery.
Could you sum up? Mr. Carlin’s waiting for his appointment.
Elliot Carlin was one of Bob Newhart's regular patients on The Bob Newhart Show; the role was played by Jack Riley. (Thanks to Michael Gilstrap for this reference.)
“I’ll see you ...” ... in September.
This is a paraphrase of the song “See You in September” by Shelley Fabares. Actual lyrics: “Will I see you in September/Or lose you to a summer love ...”
“Soon you’ll be yourself.” An angel, or a cowboy, or a pioneer dad ...
These are references to Michael Landon’s most famous roles: Jonathan Smith on Highway to Heaven, Little Joe Cartwright on Bonanza, and Charles Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie.
Hey, it’s the back door of the Vertigo church.
In the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Vertigo, a pivotal scene plays out at a picturesque church, filmed at Mission San Juan Bautista, in the town of San Juan Bautista in central California.
They have Angela Davis shrubbery!
Angela Davis is a Black activist whose bushy Afro once appeared on posters in the dorm rooms of radical students across the country. After four people were killed in an attempt to break a young revolutionary out of jail in California in 1970, the FBI claimed that Davis, then a philosophy professor, was involved in the attempt and put her on its Most Wanted list. Davis was arrested several months later but was acquitted on all charges.
Courtney Love’s prenatal care.
Courtney Love is a musician and a founding member of the L.A. alt.-rock band Hole. In 1993, Love and her husband, Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain, briefly lost custody of their daughter when Love admitted she had used heroin during her pregnancy. (Both Love and Cobain suffered problems with heroin addiction.)
“Fourteen ...” Avogadro’s number ...
Amedeo Avogadro (1776-1856) was an Italian physicist who formulated Avogadro’s law, which states that under controlled temperature and pressure, equal amounts of gas contain equal numbers of molecules. Avogadro’s number, a.k.a. Avogadro’s constant, is actually 6.022 x 1023: the number of atoms or molecules in a gram mole of a chemical substance.
“Thirteen ...” Planck’s constant ...
Planck’s constant is a mathematical constant used to express the energy of a vibrating molecule. The actual value of Planck’s constant is 6.626 068 × 10-34 m2 kg /s. It was formulated by physicist Max Planck (1858-1947).
“Two ...” [Sung.] Divided by love ...
A reference to the song “Two Divided by Love” by the Grass Roots. Sample lyrics: “Two divided by love/Can only be one/And one is a lonely number ...”
“One ...” ... is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do ...
A line from the Three Dog Night song “One Is the Loneliest Number.” Sample lyrics: “One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do/Two can be as bad as one ...”
He devolved too much! He suddenly enjoys Adam Sandler movies!
Adam Sandler is a comedian and actor who has enjoyed amazing success with a series of lowbrow, feel-good movies, including The Wedding Singer (1998) and Mr. Deeds (2002). He got his start on Saturday Night Live, where he appeared from 1991-1995.
The lambs, Clarice—what about the lambs?
A reference to the 1991 movie The Silence of the Lambs, based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name. In it, convicted serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) psychoanalyzes FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodi Foster) in a dank stone asylum about a traumatic incident from her childhood that serves as the source of the film’s title. There are several lines in the film the writers could be referencing here. One possibility: “Tell me, Clarice—have the lambs stopped screaming?”
Where’s the outrage?
Longtime U.S. Senator Bob Dole was the 1996 Republican candidate for president, ultimately losing to incumbent President Bill Clinton. During his campaign, his slogan “Where’s the outrage?” was meant to remind voters of the behavior of Clinton, who was often mired in scandals.
Arch Hall Jr. and Ado Annie, beatniks.
Arch Hall Jr. was a would-be teen idol of the 1960s. His father, Arch Hall Sr., bankrolled and directed him in a series of low, low, low budget films in an effort to turn him into a guitar-playing, sex-appeal-exuding heartthrob, an endeavor hamstrung by Hall’s lack of talent and chipmunky looks. Hall starred in Show 506: Eegah! Hall later became a professional pilot, and seems to have a charming sense of humor about his B-movie history. Ado Annie is one of the supporting characters in the musical Oklahoma!; she is the girl who “can’t say no.”
Women who love arrhythmic trolls.
This is a take on the plethora of self-help books bearing titles like Women Who Love Men Who Hate Cats Who Love Women; the granddaddy of them all is Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them by Susan Forward and Joan Torres.
I’m Koko Taylor.
Koko Taylor (1928-2009) was a Chicago blues musician, considered by many to be the finest female blues vocalist of her generation. She performed for more than 40 years and won heaps of awards.
“Oh, so you’ve joined the exclusive set.” The Amish.
The Amish are a conservative Christian sect found predominantly in North America; there is a large population of Amish in Pennsylvania. They are known for their plain, old-fashioned manner of dress and their rejection of much modern technology, including electricity and cars.
I follow Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) was a spiritual and political leader who led the independence movement of his native India against the British government, which had claimed India as a colony since 1750. He is revered for his philosophy of nonviolent protest to achieve change.
So this guy’s shortcut home is through the Carpathian Mountains.
The Carpathian Mountains are a mountain chain in Eastern Europe that stretches from Slovakia to Romania.
Ralph Fiennes is L’il Abner.
Ralph Fiennes is a British leading man who has appeared in such films as Schindler’s List and Quiz Show. L’il Abner was the title character of the classic Al Capp comic strip.
What’s he whistling, an Elliott Carter tune?
Elliott Carter (1908-2012) was a highly regarded American composer whose works include the 1939 ballet Pocahontas.
If only he didn’t live on the other side of Glacier National Park ...
Glacier National Park is a national preserve in northwest Montana, more than a million acres of forests, meadows, and lakes.
There are so many Playboys hidden out in the woods here.
Playboy is a “men’s magazine” that celebrates the aspects of a “playboy” lifestyle: cocktails, gadgets, cars, and naked women with large breasts. The magazine also publishes some of the most respected fiction and journalism in the country. So many men of a certain generation reported that their first glimpse of pornography came as a result of finding a “stack of Playboys hidden in the woods” that some joked it might have been a Playboy marketing strategy. Then, of course, the Internet came along, piping fresh, hot pornography right into the comfort of our homes.
“Who’s there?” Judge Crater! –D.B. Cooper! –Madalyn Murray O’Hair!
A trio of famous disappearing acts: Judge Joseph Force Crater was a justice on the New York Supreme Court in the 1920s. On August 6, 1930, Crater removed some papers from his files, cashed two substantial checks, got into a taxi, and disappeared. He was never found. In 1971, D.B. Cooper boarded a flight in Portland, threatened to blow up the plane, and demanded a $200,000 ransom. The flight landed briefly in Seattle, where Cooper collected the money and ordered the plane to fly to Mexico. However, while the plane was still over Washington state, Cooper donned a parachute and bailed out. His body—and the money—were never discovered. Madalyn Murray O’Hair was an atheist activist who was instrumental in getting organized prayer banned from public schools in the 1960s. In 1995 she and two of her adult children, along with $500,000, disappeared; six years later an ex-convict who had been convicted of kidnapping and murdering the trio after forcing them to withdraw the money finally led police to their bodies, buried on a ranch in Texas.
Prelude to the disemboweling of a teenager.
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun is an orchestral piece by French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
Whose woods these are? I think I know.
A line from the Robert Frost poem “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
Counselor! Come out, come out wherever you are.
In the 1991 remake of the thriller Cape Fear, the ex-con Robert De Niro says this while engaged in a cat-and-mouse pursuit of attorney Nick Nolte. The 1962 original starred Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck in the De Niro/Nolte roles.
It’s just someone returning his slide rule.
A slide rule is a device used for making various mathematical calculations; it has been rendered virtually obsolete by calculators and computers.
Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers are after me!
Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers were a jazz ensemble, carrying the banner for the “hard bop” school of jazz that for a time fell into disrepute in favor of more experimental, avant garde jazz. By the 1980s, though, bop had come back into fashion, and Blakey enjoyed a renewed burst of popularity before his death in 1990.
[Sung.] A werewolf like that, he keel your brother ...
A reference to the song “A Boy Like That” from the musical West Side Story. Actual lyrics: “A boy like that who’d kill your brother/Forget that boy and find another.”
Okay, I apologize for Strange Days, but I was really good in The English Patient.
Two Ralph Fiennes movies: Strange Days (1995) is a dystopic film about a police conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999. The English Patient (1996) starred Fiennes as a soldier in WWII who was severely burned in a plane crash; he tells the story of his war service and his lost love to the nurse who is tending him. The film won nine Oscars, including Best Picture.
Toma, Baretta, Petrocelli, Pepper—this time you’ve all gone too far.
All characters from 1970s TV shows. On Toma, David Toma was a police detective from New Jersey; when star Tony Musante decided to leave the show, it was retooled as Baretta. Baretta is the New York undercover detective played by Robert Blake on the television show by the same name; it aired from 1975-1978. Petrocelli was a show about a Harvard-educated lawyer who moved to the Southwest; it ran from 1974-1976. And Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson, played by Angie Dickinson, was the main character on Police Woman, which aired from 1974-1978. (Thanks to Terry for the Toma reference.)
I think you look better in hot pants, sir.
Also known as “short shorts,” hot pants were introduced in the mid-1960s and had faded by the early 1970s. A denim version experienced a brief revival in the late 1970s thanks to the costume of Daisy Duke (played by Catherine Bach) on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard (CBS, 1978-1985); they are still known as “Daisy Dukes.”
“Got any theories?” It was the big bang, sir.
The big bang theory is currently the favored scientific view of the origin of the universe; it hypothesizes that the universe started off in a highly compressed, extremely hot state and then expanded rapidly—the “big bang.”
Get Mark Fuhrman on the case.
Mark Fuhrman was the Los Angeles police detective who discovered the famous “bloody glove” on the property of former football star O.J. Simpson shortly after Simpson’s ex-wife was stabbed to death. He became a lightning rod during the racially charged trial when he perjured himself over whether he had ever used the word “nigger.”
Damn First Amendment!
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
I suspect a Pronto Pup vendor.
The Pronto Pup is a type of corn dog that can be found at the Minnesota State Fair. (Thanks to Joel Boutiere for this reference.)
Drag Siegfried and Roy in here.
Siegfried Fischbacher (1939-2021) and Roy Horn (1944-2020) were German-born entertainers known for their illusions and Las Vegas show featuring white tigers. In 2003, Horn was critically injured by one of their tigers during a show (since this episode first aired in 1997, it's strange to note that the tiger actually dragged Horn off the stage). In 2009, after more than five years' hiatus, they staged a final performance and retired.
Oh, and seal off the entire city under a giant Plexiglas dome, thanks.
Plexiglas is a trade name for a transparent plastic that is moldable when heated and solidifies when cooled. Sheets of Plexiglas are an alternative to glass.
It’s really Martin Landau in disguise.
Martin Landau (1928-2017) was an actor who appeared in more than a hundred movies and television shows. From 1966-1969 he played disguise artist Rollin Hand on the TV show Mission: Impossible.
Boy, Dennis the Menace’s later years didn’t go too well.
Dennis the Menace is the freckled, overall-sporting, slingshot-carrying neighborhood terror in the comic strip of the same name, created in 1950 by Hank Ketcham. In 1959 it was turned into a TV show starring Jay North.
I left a copy of Swank in here, did you …?
Swank is a particularly hardcore “men’s magazine” that began publication in 1941 as a lifestyle magazine for men, similar to Esquire. In the mid-1950s it was relaunched by Marvel Comics founder Martin Goodman as an adventure fiction magazine, featuring works by Ian Fleming and Norman Mailer. In 1993, new owners switched to flat out porn.
Tom Ewell’s last role.
Tom Ewell (1909-1994) was an actor who appeared in numerous films, including Adam’s Rib and The Seven Year Itch. He retired in 1983.
Well, you messed up the Manson case for us—that was not good.
On the night of August 9, 1969, Los Angeles was rocked by a string of seven horrific murders, among them a young actress named Sharon Tate, who at the time was eight months pregnant by her husband, director Roman Polanski. The murders were committed by members of the “Manson Family,” a counterculture group led by the charismatic Charles Manson, apparently because they were hoping to start a race war. Ultimately, five members of the “family” were convicted of the crimes, including Manson. They were sentenced to death, but the following year the sentences were commuted to life in prison. Susan Atkins died in 2009, Manson in 2017 at age 83; the others are still behind bars.
Oh, a Catholic werewolf.
Catholicism is an umbrella term to describe the doctrines of many Catholic churches, including the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Catholic Church.
“The savage beast somehow gets inside and controls you.” Rush Limbaugh?
Rush Limbaugh is a conservative commentator who helped lead the conservative talk radio revolution in the 1990s. His legions of fans were dubbed “dittoheads” for their loyal support of everything Limbaugh said. In 2012 Limbaugh stirred up a huge controversy by attacking college student Sandra Fluke, who had testified before Congress in favor of mandating insurance coverage of contraceptives; over the next few days Limbaugh used his show to call her a slut and a prostitute and demanded that she post videos online of her having sex so everyone could watch. The subsequent boycott led to the loss of hundreds of sponsors and forced his show off numerous radio stations, and the media conglomerate that syndicates his show has since lost millions of dollars.
You’re worse than Dr. Smith!
Dr. Zachary Smith, as played by Jonathan Harris, was the mincing, villainous stowaway/saboteur and nemesis of the Robinson family on the TV series Lost in Space, which aired from 1965-1968. Originally cast as a villain, Dr. Smith soon became a sympathetic character and comic relief on the series, with most of the conflicts resulting from his harebrained schemes gone awry. Dr. Smith’s relentless cowardice resulted in frequent emotional breakdowns, wherein he would either hide behind other characters and howl “We’re doomed!” or confess his shortcomings and whimper, “Oh, the shame, the pain …” Incidentally, the police officer in this scene is played by Guy Williams, who also played the dad in Lost in Space.
And I’m calling the INS.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service, or INS, is the branch of government that deals with immigration issues, including illegal immigrants and citizenship. In 2003 it was incorporated into the new Department of Homeland Security and its name changed to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS).
Hippocratic oath, shmippocratic oath.
The Hippocratic oath, named after the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, is taken by nearly every American doctor upon graduation. The modern version differs significantly from the original, but many of the basic principles remain the same: to treat the sick, to share knowledge with colleagues, and to respect the privacy of patients.
Hey, your liquid Pez is ready.
Pez candies, originally introduced in Austria in 1927 and marketed as a breath mint for adults, are small, dry, brick-shaped confections that are designed to be loaded into mechanical dispensers. In 1955 the Pez company first placed heads on the dispensers and marketed them to children, with Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse among the early designs. The brightly colored plastic dispensers have since become a part of popular culture around the world. With more than 550 unique dispenser heads and thousands of variations, there is an active community of collectors, who hold conventions and have bought and sold collectible dispensers for as much as $11,000.
You’re out of Redbooks in the waiting room.
Redbook is a women’s magazine, with articles on marriage and sex, health and beauty, diet tips, recipes and so forth.
[Sung.] Boy, you’ll be a werewolf soon.
A paraphrase of the song “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Neil Diamond. Sample lyrics: “Girl, you'll be a woman soon/Please come take my hand/Girl, you'll be a woman soon/Soon you'll need a man.”
Cool—he’s got the Keith Richards signature syringe.
Keith Richards is the lead guitarist for the Rolling Stones. He has had widely publicized problems with drug addiction, particularly heroin.
And after this, we’ll go out for a nice naked lunch.
Naked Lunch is an experimental novel by Beat Generation poster boy William S. Burroughs (1914-1997). The book is about (as much as it can be said to be “about” anything) the hallucinogenic stream of consciousness of a heroin addict.
Hair Club For Men.
Hair Club For Men is a company dedicated to baldness cures; it offers everything from bald-friendly shampoos to hair transplants.
Stand by for an important message just for me? Neat!
Various low-budget TV ads for life insurance aimed at veterans attempt to look and sound like a government public service announcement, beginning with “Attention. All current and former U.S. military personnel, stand by for an important message just for you ...”
“Donovan.” I’m just mad about Saffron, right.
A line from the song “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan. Sample lyrics: “I'm just mad about Saffron/She's just mad about me/They call me mellow yellow ...”
Ann Miller in high school.
Ann Miller (1923-2004) was a dancer and actress who appeared in more than 40 movies and stage shows, including Easter Parade and Kiss Me Kate.
Kerri Strug is a gymnast who won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. (Thanks to reader Jeff Hollen for this reference.)
Rosa Klebb, gym coach.
Rosa Klebb was the villainous, somewhat butch ex-KGB agent in the 1963 James Bond film From Russia with Love. The part was played by veteran stage actress Lotte Lenya (1898-1981).
I can’t believe Merlin Olsen got that flower gig.
See note on Merlin Olsen, above. Olsen was the pitchman for FTD florists for many years; before he began huckstering and acting, he played pro football with the NFL Rams.
You are Tom Jenkins, right?
Probably a reference to PGA golfer Tom Jenkins.
[Sung.] It’s all right if I kill a couple kids Bonanza!
See note on Bonanza theme, above.
I'm witnessing genius: the symmetry, the beauty, the definition of athlete. I gotta call John Tesh.
Composer and media personality John Tesh was a gymnastics commentator for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics and the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.
The bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, the tintinnabulation of the bells!
A paraphrase of the poem “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe. The actual lines: “To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells/From the bells, bells, bells, bells,/Bells, bells, bells-/From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.”
Oops, he’s Johnny Depping.
Johnny Depp is an offbeat Hollywood leading man. Blessed with the preternatural bone structure of a matinee idol, Depp has consistently declined to coast on his good looks and has sought out eccentric roles throughout his career. He played the cross-dressing director in Ed Wood, the fatally wounded Old West accountant in Dead Man, the balding Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the effeminate pirate Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, among many others.
Let’s see how Grecian Formula works.
Grecian Formula is a hair dye for men that promises to gradually get rid of gray hair over a period of weeks—thus presumably making it less obvious that you dye your hair. It is manufactured by Combe Inc.
Hey, it’s Lemmy from Motörhead, man.
Lemmy Kilmister (Ian Frazer Kilmister, 1945-2015) was the founder, bassist, and lead singer of Motörhead (note the umlaut), the heaviest of all heavy metal bands.
Time for your compulsory “being eaten” routine.
The sport of gymnastics has two levels: compulsory and optional. Compulsory gymnastics involves specific routines that the gymnast must learn and perform exactly as given. Optional gymnastics allows the gymnast to put together a routine that plays to their strengths, and can be accompanied by music of their choice.
I’m bat … werewolf … man.
The line “I’m Batman” is spoken both hesitantly and confidently, depending on the circumstances, by Michael Keaton in the title role of the 1989 movie Batman—one of many, many interpretations of the comic book superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939.
You know, he does look kind of like Béla Károlyi.
Béla Károlyi is a Romanian-American gymnastics coach. Many of his students have gone on to become champions, but he has been the target of criticism: former students have frequently charged that his motivational methods verged on abuse.
Donna Shalala to the rescue.
Donna Shalala was the secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.
I’m being attacked by a Berenstain Bear!
The Berenstain Bears (Papa, Mama, Brother, and Sister) are the stars of a series of children’s books by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The first was published in 1962.
Judy Garland runs out of pills.
Judy Garland (1922-1969) was a singer, dancer, and actress best known for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (1939). She struggled with an addiction to alcohol and barbiturates throughout most of her career; her premature death at the age of 47 was due to an accidental overdose of barbiturates.
An English werewolf … those teeth.
Though a 2015 study published in the British Medical Journal found that British citizens actually have better dental health than Americans, the stereotype that Brits have bad teeth prevails. One theory holds that the British simply don’t worry as much about straightening or whitening their teeth as their American counterparts.
Oh, God, he’s wearing black-soled shoes in the gym!
Black-soled shoes have traditionally been prohibited in gymnasiums with wood floors because they tend to leave unsightly black marks all over the floor.
Um, mistakes were made?
“Mistakes were made” is a commonly used dodge by politicians to acknowledge error without pinning blame on any specific person: the passive construction suggests that no one actually made the mistakes; they just materialized out of thin air. President Ronald Reagan used the phrase during the Iran-contra scandal in 1986, but the earliest use I was able to find was by Richard Nixon’s press secretary, Ron Ziegler, in 1973, apologizing for his attacks on Washington Post stories about the Watergate scandal.
Billy Corgan was the lead singer for the alt.-rock band Smashing Pumpkins. The band broke up in December 2000, and Corgan went on to launch his solo career.
Should have got invisible fencing.
“Invisible fencing” is a catch-all term for systems that keep pets contained in their yards … through science! Electronic transmitters placed around the perimeter of the yard activate a shock collar if the pet strays, thus training the pet to stay put without having to build a physical barrier.
Huh! Good God, y’all!
A reference to the song “War” by Edwin Starr, with its famous chorus: “War—huh/What is it good for?/Absolutely nothing/Say it again.” (Starr actually sings “Good God, now” rather than “Good God, y’all.”)
He just glued crepe hair to his football helmet.
Crepe hair is a product used in the theater to create simple beards, moustaches, bushy eyebrows, etc. It is usually made of wool, and is sold in ropes, often braided, that unravel curly but can be straightened as desired.
[Hummed.] “America the Beautiful.”
“America the Beautiful” was originally a poem written by a woman named Katherine Bates and first published in 1895. It was instantly popular, and after it was set to music by Samuel Ward, a movement sprang up to make it the new national anthem; however, it was beaten out by “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1931.
Have you tried Tilex?
Tilex is a brand of household cleanser that boasts of being able to cut through soap scum in bathrooms. It is manufactured by the Clorox Co.
They couldn’t shoot at night because the night belongs to Michelob. –I thought the night belonged to lovers? --It did, but it was bought off by Michelob.
“The night belongs to Michelob” was an advertising slogan for Michelob beer from 1986 to 1989. The song “Because the Night” by Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith, off Smith's Easter album, has the line “Because the night belongs to lovers ...” It has been covered by multiple artists, including 10,000 Maniacs.
Colonel Mustard did it!
Colonel Mustard is one of the characters/potential murderers in the classic board game Clue.
Right here, in our very own home …
An imitation of TV pioneer and entertainment impresario Ed Sullivan (1901-1974), host of The Ed Sullivan Show, a vaudeville-like showcase that was must-see TV from 1948 to 1971 (though it was titled Toast of the Town until 1955). A former entertainment columnist, never a performer himself, Sullivan was notably lacking in charisma and stage presence, and along with poor posture (“What the hell is wrong with his neck?” was a common question), he had a retinue of stilted and hackneyed phrases he used to promote or introduce acts. Among them: “Right here, on our very own stage …”
Rack-O is a custom card game for two to four players, the object of which is to acquire ten cards (which the player organizes in a plastic rack) in numerical order. The game was released in 1956 and is currently owned by Winning Moves; the copyright has been held over the years by Hasbro, Milton Bradley, and Parker Brothers.
Just give him a Liv-a-Snap.
Liv-a-Snaps were a dog treat advertised in the 1970s as containing “real liver.” Now just called “Snaps,” the brand is owned by Alpo and comes in a variety of flavors, packaged as “Variety Snaps.”
J. Edgar Hoover, grief counselor.
J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death. His focus on anti-communism after World War II led him to virtually ignore the Mafia until the mid-1950s. He was known for his loathing of “subversives” of any stripe and launched notorious investigations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. He was criticized for turning the FBI into a secret police force, amassing information that allowed him to intimidate sitting presidents. However, he also built the FBI into a professional, modernized, and effective crime-fighting force. Rumors of homosexuality dogged Hoover all his life, and in 1993 author Anthony Summers claimed he was a cross dresser, an image that quickly caught on in the popular imagination.
Oh baby, you gonna cry now baby?
A riff on a scene in the 1983 comedy movie A Christmas Story, in which neighborhood bully Farkus taunts the story's hero, Ralphie, a bit too much. It doesn’t end well. For Farkus. For Raphie it ended up being a pretty good day
John Malkovich takes a nap.
John Malkovich is an actor who has appeared in such films as Dangerous Liaisons and, of course, 1999’s Being John Malkovich.
"Hey, now!" was the catchphrase of Hank Kingsley, the announcer/sidekick on The Larry Sanders Show; the character was played by the balding Jeffrey Tambor. (Thanks to Paul Castaldi for this reference.)
Ed, this is Jed, Ned, Cletus, Scooter, Cooter, Jim-Bob, Joe-Bob, Clem, Clay, and Bocephus.
“Bocephus” is a nickname of country singer Hank Williams, Jr., given to him by his father, fellow country singer Hank Williams, who thought that he resembled Grand Ole Opry comedian Rod Brasfield’s ventriloquist dummy of the same name.
So take your Dramamine.
Dramamine is an over-the-counter anti-nausea medicine used to combat motion sickness. It is manufactured by Pfizer.
Yep, yep, hey, Mr. Douglas, you searchin’ for werewolves?
An imitation of Hank Kimball (played by Alvy Moore) from the TV sitcom Green Acres (CBS, 1965-1971). Oliver Wendell Douglas (played by Eddie Albert) was the main character on the show, the hotshot New York City attorney who yearns for a quiet country life. Kimball was the earnest but scatterbrained county agent in the backwards farming community of Hooterville, and everything he said spiraled into a feedback loop of qualifiers and corrections until finally he completely lost track of what he was saying.
Remember that time we burned that cross over there? What a time.
One of the more famous methods used by the American terrorist organization Ku Klux Klan to instill fear is setting a wooden cross on fire, often in front of or near the home of the person they’re targeting.
The Bernard Herrmann score really heightens the tension, doesn’t it?
Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) was a composer who worked on dozens of films and TV series, including several for Alfred Hitchcock. He is probably best known for the shrill orchestral piece that served as the theme for Psycho (1960).
Sir, I’ve got to get back and transfer Oswald.
Lee Harvey Oswald (1939-1963) was the young man who in November 1963 shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas (unless you think he didn’t, but I’d have to be crazy to get into that here). Two days later, Oswald was being transferred from his cell to an interrogation room in the Dallas jail when he was shot and killed by local nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Oswald was handcuffed to Dallas Police detective Jim Leavelle, who was dressed in a tan suit and matching Resistol cowboy hat.
Fudd, you check the woods and be vewy, vewy quiet.
An imitation of Elmer Fudd from the old Warner Bros. cartoon shorts. His voice was supplied most famously by Arthur Q. Bryan.
We will march into the Forbidden Zone!
This is a reference to a line in the film Beneath the Planet of the Apes, but I was unable to verify the exact wording.
Take back the night, men!
Take Back the Night is a protest march that takes place regularly around the world; it is an expression of defiance against the fear of violence that women face, particularly when going out at night. The first Take Back the Night rally in the United States was held in San Francisco in 1978.
Men, if you see him howling 'round your kitchen door, better not let him in.
Another reference to the song “Werewolves of London” (see above note). The actual line: “If you hear him howling around your kitchen door/Better not let him in.”
Rerry rintrestring, but roopid.
A double-dip riff, spoken in the voice of Scooby-Doo (see above note). “Very interesting, but stupid” was a catchphrase on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (NBC, 1968-1973). In a recurring bit, cast member Arte Johnson, wearing a German World War II helmet, would poke his head out from behind a potted plant and pronounce his opinion on the previous skit.
A super stealthy Denver Pyle.
Denver Pyle (1920-1997) was a character actor who appeared in more than a hundred films and television shows. He is perhaps best known for his role as Uncle Jesse on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, which aired from 1979-1985.
White trash, black heart.
White Hunter, Black Heart is a 1990 film directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. It is loosely based on the story of director John Huston traveling to Africa in preparation for filming The African Queen.
He looks like Paddington on a bender.
The English children’s character Paddington Bear is the star of a popular book series, several television shows, and a CGI film. His first appearance was in the book A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond, published in 1958.
[Sung.] Pa rum pum pum pum.
This is the chorus of the Christmas carol “Little Drummer Boy.” Sample lyrics: “Come they told me/Pa rum pum pum pum/A newborn King to see/Pa rum pum pum pum.”
The murder of Joe Besser.
Joe Besser (1907-1988) was a comedian who is remembered principally for two roles: the bratty character Oswald on the old Abbott and Costello Show, and his brief stint as a member of the Three Stooges comedy team in the 1950s.
Take a look at this stump! It looks like Nixon!
Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) was the 37th president of the United States, from 1969-1974. He resigned on August 9, 1974, rather than face almost certain impeachment by the House of Representatives over his role in the Watergate scandal.
For sale by hobbit. Contact Samwise Gamgee.
Samwise Gamgee is Frodo Baggins’s faithful sidekick in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy Lord of the Rings.
Sorry, Mr. Sasquatch.
The Sasquatch, a.k.a. Bigfoot, is a legendary ape-like creature supposed to haunt the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. What is generally considered the best evidence for its existence—a blurry film taken in 1967—has been debunked as a hoax, but the debate rages on.
Personally, Jeb, I prefer the London production of Starlight Express.
Starlight Express is a stage musical in which all the cast members are on roller skates; it was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It ran in London’s West End from 1984-2002. It was less successful in the United States, opening on Broadway in 1987 and running just over two years.
They’ll find the bodies from Stand By Me, River’s Edge, Twin Peaks ...
Stand By Me is a 1986 film about four young boys going on a trek through the woods to see a dead body. River’s Edge, also from 1986, is a movie about a group of teenagers dealing with the fact that one of them has killed another member of the group. Twin Peaks was the surreal 1990 TV series by David Lynch, about an FBI agent trying to solve the murder of a young woman in a Northwest town.
[Sung.] You vowed your love, from here to eternity ...
A line from the song “From Here to Eternity” by Frank Sinatra. Sample lyrics: “You vowed your love/From here to eternity/A love so true/It never would die ...”
You know, Bull Connor shouldn’t let his dogs just run around.
Theophilus Eugene “Bull” Connor (1897-1973) was the police commissioner of Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. When civil rights protesters organized a march in the city, Connor ordered his men to set police dogs on the demonstrators and turned fire hoses on them. Footage of young black children being attacked by the dogs was aired nationwide, and the resulting outcry helped lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act the following year.
He finally just kneed him in the groin and snicker-snagged on him.
The Urban Dictionary website actually credits MST3K with bringing the phrase “snicker-snag,” meaning to hold someone down and dangle spit above their face, into the popular vernacular.
Ted Danson is an actor who is best known for playing bar owner Sam Malone on the long-running TV sitcom Cheers; he also played the title role on the television series Becker (1998-2004).
Hey, Vern, looks like they killed a dog, huh?
An impression of Jim Varney’s Ernest P. Worrell character. Vern was Ernest’s unseen, silent, first-person-viewing neighbor.
One member of The Incredible Journey down!
The Incredible Journey is a 1963 film based on the Sheila Burnford novel of the same name. It is the story of a cat and two dogs who get separated from their owners on vacation and manage to make their way home.
Lenny and Squiggy. (Nights.)
Leonard “Lenny” Kosnowski and Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman were characters on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley, which aired from 1976-1983. They were played by Michael McKean and David L. Lander, respectively. Baywatch Nights was a spinoff of Baywatch that aired from 1995-1997, in which David Hasselhoff and the cop from Baywatch form a detective agency; it performed poorly and was canceled after only two seasons.
Indiana Jones and his sidekick Merle.
Indiana Jones is the central character in the films by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg: Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). The part was played by Harrison Ford.
Well, we searched Hooters, Deja Vu, Buns & Roses, and Fatburger—no luck.
Hooters is a chain of restaurants whose attractive waitresses all dress in tight tank tops and very short shorts. Deja Vu is a strip club in downtown Minneapolis. Buns & Roses was an “adult entertainment center” in Minneapolis; in 1998 it was renamed “Rick’s Cabaret.” And Fatburger is a chain of fast food restaurants.
Ollie ollie oxen free!
“Ollie ollie oxen free” is the phrase used in the children’s game hide & seek to indicate that the child who was “it” has caught someone, and the remaining players can come out of hiding. Its origin is uncertain, but “oxen free” may be a corruption of “all in free.”
Never let Jose Feliciano lead your search party.
Jose Feliciano is a blind Puerto Rican pop singer and guitarist, known for such hits as “Feliz Navidad” and his cover of the Doors’ “Light My Fire.”
The manhunt was organized by the Lilydale Senior Center.
Lilydale is a tiny town in Minnesota, located just outside St. Paul. As of 2016, its population was 853.
Uh, sir, I think I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand?
Yet another line from “Werewolves of London” (see above note). The actual lyrics: “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand/Walking through the streets of Soho in the rain ...”
1943. An Ewok makes it behind German lines.
Ewoks were the nauseatingly cutesy critters in Return of the Jedi (1983), the third film in the original Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas.
Do you think Sprint needs to know all that, sir?
Sprint is a global telecommunications company based in Overland Park, Kansas. It offers local and long-distance telephone services, cell phone services, and more.
Dr. Kevorkian will see me on Tuesday.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian (1928-2011) was known for his determination to assist terminally ill people in committing suicide. He spent time in jail for violating assisted suicide laws, and was criticized even by some proponents of euthanasia for his willingness to help total strangers commit suicide.
Another slice of stale Wonder Bread for you?
Wonder Bread is a white sandwich bread manufactured by Flower Foods..
A sandwich is a sandwich but a man is a meal.
This is a paraphrase of a 1976 slogan for Hunt’s Manwich Sloppy Joe mix: “A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal.”
That’s right—I was supposed to live long and prosper.
“Live long and prosper” is the all-purpose greeting/farewell/aloha of the Vulcan race in the Star Trek universe, accompanied by the classic split-fingered salute.
I think Nellie Oleson is behind all this.
Nellie Oleson was Laura Ingalls’s snooty classmate and arch-nemesis on Little House on the Prairie; she was played by Alison Arngrim.
[Canine version of The Great Escape theme.]
This is the theme to The Great Escape (1963), which starred Steve McQueen as the leader of a group of POWs bent on escape.
They’re about to close the lunch buffet at Milda’s!
Milda’s Cafe is a landmark restaurant in northern Minneapolis.
These Junior Jumbles are very difficult.
Jumble is a scrambled word game that appears in daily newspapers around the country; they also have a “junior” version aimed at kids.
I have his Gainesburgers.
Gainesburger is a brand of soft, crumbly dog food that looks something like raw hamburger, only drier.
I’m Whit Bissell.
See note on Whit Bissell, above.
[Sung.] Everybody’s barkin’ at me/I can’t hear a command they’re sayin’ ...
A paraphrase of the song “Everybody’s Talkin’,” which has been recorded by Harry Nilsson and Emmylou Harris, among others. Actual lyrics: “Everybody’s talkin’ at me/Can’t hear a word they’re sayin’ ...”
Time to turn into Superwerewolf!
Superman, the DC Comics character, would traditionally duck into a phone booth to change from his civilian clothes into his superhero togs.
The brutal interrogation of Cindy Brady.
Cynthia “Cindy” Brady was the youngest daughter on TV’s The Brady Bunch, which aired from 1969-1974. She was played by Susan Olsen.
The calls are coming from inside the cop!
A variation on an often-quoted line from the 1979 horror/suspense movie When a Stranger Calls, about a babysitter being terrorized over the phone by a psycho killer. In one scene a police sergeant tells the babysitter, “We’ve traced the call ... it’s coming from inside the house. Now a squad car’s coming over there right now, just get out of that house!”
I don’t like him.
An imitation of Droopy Dog, the cartoon basset hound with drooping jowls (get it?) and a slow, deadpan delivery that appeared in 24 MGM theatrical shorts between 1943 and 1958, and in various other cartoons and later reboots. Created by Tex Avery, Droopy was based on 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 him, or her …]” was one of Droopy’s signature catchphrases.
Pablo Neruda waits nearby.
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was a Chilean poet, considered by many the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971.
I’ve got some feelers on the street. I’ll check in with Huggy Bear.
Huggy Bear was a character on the TV police drama Starsky & Hutch, which aired on ABC from 1975-1979 and was remade into a tongue-in-cheek film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson in 2004. Played by Antonio Fargas on TV and Snoop Dogg in the film, Huggy Bear is a flamboyantly dressed pimp who is a reliable source of “word on the street” information.
Later, on NYPD Gray.
NYPD Blue (1993-2005) was a long-running police drama show set in Manhattan.
Ah, good. Whit Bissell will light a fire under this film.
See note on Whit Bissell, above.
You are Meadowlark Lemon, aren’t you?
Meadowlark Lemon (1932-2015), the “Clown Prince of Basketball,” was the most popular member of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. During his five decades in the sport, he played in more than 10,000 games.
“I know what I am.” I’m a dancer, damn it.
A reference to the song “Let Me Dance For You” from the musical A Chorus Line. Sample lyrics: “I am a dancer/That’s what I am/What I do ...” May also be a reference to Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the doctor on the original Star Trek TV series, who was wont to exclaim, “I’m a doctor, damn it, not a [fill in the blank].”
Get in your Pet Taxi.
The Pet Taxi is a brand of pet carrier manufactured by Petmate.
Aromatherapy is a method of altering one’s mood or psychological state using aromatic oils or powders. The word first appeared in print in 1937, but the practice really became trendy in the 1980s.
You know, he’s Pete Sampras!
Pete Sampras is a professional tennis player who won seven singles titles at Wimbledon and a record fourteen Grand Slam singles titles during his career.
Excedrin headache number 12.
“Excedrin headache number ____” is a slogan from a series of TV commercials for the painkiller that ran during the 1960s. Excedrin headache number 1040 was a tax audit, for example.
Tova Borgnine, you’ve done it again.
Tova Borgnine, wife of actor Ernest Borgnine, is a “beauty entrepreneur” who sells fragrances, skin creams, cosmetics, and so forth.
Joe Eszterhas is a hirsute screenwriter best known for exploitation dramas and thrillers: Flashdance (1983), Basic Instinct (1992), Sliver (1933), Jade (1995), and Showgirls (1995).
If that’s Rin Tin Tin, tell him I just left.
Rin Tin Tin was a German shepherd who was rescued by an American soldier in World War I after a bombing raid destroyed his kennel. He became a Hollywood star during the silent-film era, acting in 26 movies before his death in 1932. Two of his descendants starred in the TV series The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, which ran from 1954-1959.
I’ll harm you! I’ll give you such a pinch!
These are two lines uttered by comedian Joe Besser (1907-1988; see above note) in his persona of Oswald, a bratty character he portrayed on The Abbott and Costello Show (1952-1953).
In 1988, Oscar Meyer introduced Lunchables, prepackaged trays of crackers, cheese, lunchmeat, and other snack-like foods that were intended to spare mothers the hassle of preparing bag lunches for their kids. However, critics accused the company of marketing junk food in the guise of healthy meals, pointing to their high fat and sodium content.
This is gonna be really sad, like the end of Old Yeller, isn’t it?
Old Yeller is a children’s book written by Frank Gipson; a Disney film version starring Fess Parker came out in 1957. A boy-and-his-dog story, at the end of the book and the film (spoiler alert), the boy has to shoot his beloved dog, who has contracted rabies defending the family from a wolf infected with the disease.
Tony, you can dance! You can get out of here!
A reference to the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever, in which Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) haunts discos and dreams of a life outside his native Brooklyn.
Probably a reference to the fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood,” in which a wolf impersonates the title character’s grandmother, just after eating Granny and just before eating Red.
Or they might just reprint “Please, God, I’m Only 17!”
“Please, God, I’m Only 17!” is a cautionary essay about the dangers of reckless driving that was reprinted seemingly every other week in both the “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” newspaper advice columns. It dates back to at least the 1970s.
Before you credits, Caress!
“Before you dress, Caress” is an advertising slogan for Caress moisturizing soap.