1107: The Land That Time Forgot
by Sean Marten
It’s a can of spring snakes.
The spring snake gag, officially known as the Snake Nut Can, is a practical joke involving what looks like a can of nuts or peanut brittle that actually contains a long wire spring covered in cloth or vinyl to look like a snake. When the victim opens the can, the snake jumps out and hilarity ensues. It was invented around 1915 by Soren “Sam” Adams, who also gave us the joy buzzer.
You know, not enough titles use Jimi Hendrix font.
Jimi Hendrix (1942-1970) is considered one of the most influential guitarists in the history of rock & roll, known for such late 1960s hits as “Purple Haze” and “Foxy Lady.” The lettering used on many of his album covers reflected the psychedelic leanings of that era, such as Dreamline (1969, designer unknown) and Chwast Art Tone (c. 1966, designed by Seymour Chwast, an influential graphic designer of the psychedelic era).
Oh, baby Moses is gettin’ real seasick in there.
Moses is a biblical figure in the Old Testament, the Jewish leader who guided his people out of slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land. According to Exodus, as an infant, Moses was hidden in a small basket on the bank of the Nile River, to avoid a death sentence for all newborn male Hebrews; he was found there by the daughter of the Pharaoh and raised as an Egyptian.
Hi, I’m Doug McClure. You may remember me from such films as Proper Cylinder Disposal and Cliff Diving for Dogs.
Doug McClure (1935-1995) was an American actor best known for starring in the NBC western The Virginian (1962-1971). He also starred in another MST3K Season 11 episode: Show 1114, At the Earth’s Core (1976). On the Fox animated TV series The Simpsons, a running gag in the first ten seasons had washed-up actor Troy McClure introducing himself with the lines: “Hi, I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such films as ________ and _________.” When actor Phil Hartman, who voiced the character, died in 1998, the show retired the character rather than recast it with another voice actor.
Land Associates was a film production company that, according to IMDb, had only one movie to its credit: this one.
[Sung.] Sail away, sail away, sail away … –Oh, okay, buddy. All right, just let the Orinoco flow, all right?
“Orinoco Flow (Sail Away)” is a 1988 song by Irish singer-songwriter and New Age chanteuse Enya; it was a worldwide hit, topping the charts in several European countries. Sample lyrics: “We can sail, we can sail/With the Orinoco Flow/We can sail, we can sail/Sail away, sail away, sail away.”
Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., a division of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle LLC.
American author Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950), best known for creating the pulp heroes Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, also wrote the novel The Land That Time Forgot, originally published in 1918 as a magazine serial titled The Lost U-Boat. Burroughs founded Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in 1923—making him one of the first artists to incorporate—for tax reasons and to keep more control over the copyrights to his work. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a British author best known for creating uber-detective Sherlock Holmes; Doyle also wrote a novel very similar to this story, The Lost World, in 1912, although he never incorporated.
Who but Alan Hume could capture this priceless image of … I’m gonna say a … a floating cowboy boot?
Alan Hume (1924-2010) was a British cinematographer whose work includes The Legend of Hell House (1973) and, in his later career, Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi (1983). Hume also did the cinematography for Show 1114, At the Earth’s Core. (Both of the films used by MST3K were directed by Kevin Connor.)
Maurice Carter. He’s your man when you need production design for a floating cowboy boot.
Maurice Carter (1913-2000) was a British production designer who also worked on Show 1114, At the Earth’s Core.
Finally, me Pringles arrived.
Pringles are a brand of potato chips developed by Procter & Gamble in 1967 and now owned by Kellogg’s. Unlike other chips, which involve slices of actual potatoes and come in bags, Pringles are machine-made: compressed potato residue and wheat starch chips sold neatly stacked in cylindrical cardboard tubes.
[Sung.] Picking up an S.O.S. ... Someone sent an S.O.S. ...
A reference to the 1979 song “Message in a Bottle,” by British rock band The Police. Sample lyrics: “I’ll send an S.O.S to the world/I hope that someone gets my/Message in a bottle …”
And ragtime was all the rage!
Ragtime is a distinctly American form of popular music, with origins dating back to the early 1890s in the African-American communities of St. Louis, Missouri. It was indeed all the rage from 1895 to around 1920—which is roughly when this movie is set. Prime examples of the form include the Scott Joplin compositions “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer.”
And they say there’s no application for Oculus Rift.
Oculus Rift is a line of virtual reality headsets that was introduced in 2016, following a successful Kickstarter campaign. They’re made by Oculus VR, which is owned by Facebook. A common complaint about the headsets was the lack of compelling software—that the tech was cool, but it lacked a “killer app” that really put VR to good use.
Schnitzel for everyone! On ze house!
Schnitzel is an Austrian dish consisting of meat cutlets pounded flat, dredged in flour, milk, eggs, and breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried. The term “schnitzel” describes the cooking technique, so Wiener-Schnitzel is made with veal, Schweine-Schnitzel with pork, Puten-Schnitzel with turkey, and so on.
“We’ve had enough trouble already.” What with the tribbles and all.
Tribbles are the small, round, furry, extremely fertile critters introduced in “The Trouble with Tribbles,” an episode of the original Star Trek TV series (NBC, 1966-1969). The episode was written by David Gerrold. They were also featured in an episode of the animated series (“More Tribbles, More Troubles”) and on an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (“Trials and Tribble-ations”), and they have made cameo appearances in several of the films.
Cheech and Chong go to Venice.
Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong are a Grammy Award-winning comedy duo, most of whose humor revolves around smoking marijuana. In their 1970s/’80s heyday, they produced a number of comedy albums, including Big Bambu and Sleeping Beauty, and starred in several feature films, including Up in Smoke and Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie. Venice, known as the “City of Canals,” is a city of about a quarter-million inhabitants in northeastern Italy, famed for its Gothic and Renaissance architecture and its latticework of canals and bridges. “Goes to …” has long been a convention for movie titles, from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) to Gidget Goes to Rome (1963) to Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004).
[Imitating Chong.] Pope’s not here, man.
A variant on one of Cheech and Chong’s best-known routines (see previous note), “Dave.” Basically:
Chong: “Who is it?”
Cheech: “It’s Dave, man! Will you open up? I got the stuff with me!”
Cheech: “Dave, man, open up!”
Cheech: “Yeah, Dave, come on, man, open up! I think the cops saw me!”
Chong: “Dave’s not here!”
Burt Reynolds is Sean Connery as Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher.
Burt Reynolds (1936-2018) was an American actor best known for the films Deliverance (1972), Smokey and the Bandit (1977), and Cannonball Run (1981), as well as a leading role on the TV series Evening Shade (CBS, 1990-1994). Sean Connery (1930-2020) was a Scottish actor best known for playing British superspy James Bond in seven films. Mark Ruffalo is an American actor best known for playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk in various Marvel Cinematic Universe films; Ruffalo also co-starred (alongside Steve Carell and Channing Tatum) in the biopic/true crime/sports drama film Foxcatcher (2014).
Well, it ain’t Miller High Life in a Styrofoam cup, but it’ll do.
Miller High Life is a brand of pilsner beer brewed by the Miller Brewing Company. Introduced in 1903, it is Miller’s oldest brand. Styrofoam is a brand of plastic foam first made in 1941 and frequently used as a packing material or beverage container; it is manufactured by Dow Chemical.
We should keep this rolling, get some Powerball tickets, huh? Go to Vegas.
The American lottery game Powerball was introduced in 1992 and is offered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Vegas is short for Las Vegas, the neon-lit mecca of casinos and resorts in the heart of the Nevada desert.
All these guys are cosplaying as the same Tintin character.
Cosplay—short for costume play—is a type of performance art in which people wear costumes and accessories representing specific characters from films, anime, cartoons, comic books, TV series, video games, etc. Cosplay and cosplay events are regular features at fan conventions worldwide. The costumes are generally homemade, D.I.Y. projects, and are often quite complex, detailed, and well-constructed. The Adventures of Tintin is a comic book series by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi, who worked under the pen name Hergé. Tintin is a youthful reporter with a gravity-defying hairstyle whose investigations land him in all manner of intrigues; his best friend is Captain Haddock, a Merchant Marine sea captain who always wears a captain’s hat and a turtleneck sweater, much like the mariners seen here.
“Borg requests permission to surface and recharge the batteries.” The Borg!
On the science fiction TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation (syndication, 1987-1994), as well as the sequel series Star Trek: Voyager (UPN, 1995-2001), the Borg are a race of cybernetic hive mind beings that forcibly assimilate other life forms into themselves.
Oh, this kaleidoscope sucks. There’s no colors.
The kaleidoscope was invented by 19th-century Scottish physicist David Brewster, who patented it in 1817. It was an enormous success, with 200,000 sold in just three months, but the design had been copied before his patent was granted, and Brewster received no money from his invention.
Matthew Lillard is Donald Sutherland in the Andy Capp story.
Matthew Lillard is an American actor and voice actor best known for playing Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo franchise: he’s provided the voice of Shaggy in animation since 2009 and played Shaggy in two live-action Scooby-Doo movies. Donald Sutherland is a Canadian actor whose five-decade career includes such films as M*A*S*H (1970), Ordinary People (1980), JFK (1991), and The Hunger Games franchise. Andy Capp is the eponymous star of the long-running comic strip created by Reg Smythe, which first appeared in Britain in 1957 and was then syndicated worldwide. He is, as the Toonopedia says, “lazy, belligerent, unskilled at any socially acceptable occupation, and usually drunk.” He always wears a hat pulled down low over his eyes.
“Mister Bradley.” I’m a fan of your games. Twister is inspired.
The Milton Bradley Company was an American board game maker established in 1860; in 1998 it merged with another game company, Parker Brothers, to form game giant Hasbro and ceased using the MB name. Twister is a board game produced by Hasbro, which consists of a large plastic sheet with circles of various colors on it. The object is to place your hands and feet on the different colored circles as the game spinner indicates until all players are hopelessly entangled and fall into a gigantic heap. It was first released in 1966.
Orson Welles is Dom DeLuise in … –Okay, all right, all right.
Orson Welles (1915-1985) was an actor, writer, and director who is considered one of the most phenomenally talented auteurs of the 20th century. He appeared in more than 100 films and television shows and directed nearly 40 others, including Citizen Kane (1941), which is generally considered one of the best films of all time. In his later years he grew quite corpulent. Dom DeLuise (1933-2009) was an overweight comic actor known for his roles in such films as Blazing Saddles (1974) and The Cheap Detective (1978). In addition to his acting, he was a talented chef and the author of several books about cooking.
This is what every Star Wars movie looks like before the CGI gets put in.
The original film in the Star Wars franchise, Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope (1977), employed many advances in visual effects and computer-controlled camera movements. That film’s phenomenal success allowed its visual effects house, Industrial Light and Magic, to greatly expand and make innovations in computer-generated imagery (CGI). CGI is added to movies after principal photography is finished; footage intended to have effects added later looks pretty weird by itself, often consisting of actors standing in front of a green screen talking to thin air, being pulled around by wires, or wearing a motion-capture suit.
[Sung.] Row, row, row your boat … gently to our deaths …
Riffing on the traditional nursery rhyme/children’s song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” first published in 1852. Sample lyrics from the most common modern version, first recorded in 1881: “Row, row, row your boat/Gently down the stream/Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily/Life is but a dream.”
[Number 33 on side of submarine.] Oh, I know who’s on board. It’s either Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, or Rolling Rock.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Larry Bird are both famed, and now retired, American basketball players who both wore the number 33 on their uniforms—Abdul-Jabbar for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers, and Bird for the Boston Celtics. All three teams have retired that number in their honor. Rolling Rock is an American brand of lager beer first made by Latrobe Brewing in Pennsylvania in 1939; the brand is now owned by Anheuser-Busch. Every bottle of Rolling Rock has the number 33 prominently printed on the back—its meaning has remained a mystery and garnered much speculation: Prohibition was repealed in 1933, it’s the number of words in the beer’s pledge of quality, the beer is brewed at 33 degrees, there are 33 letters in its list of ingredients …
Before I forget, here’s your rainstick back. [Imitates rainstick.]
A rainstick is a long, hollow tube, usually made of wood and sealed at both ends, with the interior surface covered in small metal pins and filled with tiny pellets. When the stick is tilted back and forth, it creates a sound very similar to falling rain.
Watch your step. Those Thom McAns are not good on a wet sub.
Thom McAn is a brand of leather, casual, and athletic footwear. They used to have hundreds of retail stores around the country, but the shoes are now sold only in Kmart and Sears stores, whose numbers are also dwindling. The brand is owned by Sears Brands, LLC.
The actual fog of war.
The term “fog of war”—meaning that in the midst of a military operation you may be uncertain of where you are, where your allies are, where the enemy is, etc.—originated in an 1832 book by Prussian military analyst Carl von Clausewitz. The book was published in English as On War in 1873. In 2003, documentary filmmaker Errol Morris released The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons From the Life of Robert McNamara, a biopic about the man who was secretary of defense for presidents Kennedy and Johnson and who is viewed as the architect of the Vietnam War.
[All.] Surprise! [Sung.] Happy birthday …
This song, which has become the standard for birthday parties, was written (albeit with different lyrics) in 1893 by two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, under the title “Good Morning to All.” It was the most widely performed song of the 20th century. The “Happy Birthday” version was first printed in 1912. In 1988, things got weird when the company that owned the copyright was bought and the new owner decided to get tough with violators. That’s when wait staff at restaurants stopped singing it and it wasn’t as widely used in TV shows and movies, since they would now have to pay royalties. In 2016, however, a judge ruled the copyright claims to “Happy Birthday” invalid, thanks to a suit filed by a filmmaker working on a documentary about the song. The rights holder was earning about $2 million in royalties per year at the time of the ruling. The song is now officially in the public domain.
We demand you fly this submarine to Cuba.
After Fidel Castro seized power in Cuba in 1958, the United States cut off diplomatic relations with the communist country in 1961 and banned travel to the island. Starting shortly thereafter, the U.S. saw a wave of airplane hijackings by people trying to get to Cuba. Some of the hijackers were Cuban exiles who wanted to return to the country; some were leftist activists who were hoping to find their spiritual home in the communist land. The hijackings were so common that flight plans for Havana were standard equipment for aircraft in this era. They peaked in the late 1960s and early 1970s; of 130 hijacking attempts of American airplanes between 1968 and 1972, the vast majority of them (some sources say 85; some say 90) were to Cuba.
The German sailor comes out of his hole. If he sees his shadow, we’ll have three more weeks of war.
Groundhog Day is a popular tradition in the U.S. and Canada, celebrated on February 2. It’s based on a Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that dictates if a groundhog emerges from its burrow on that day and sees its shadow (thanks to clear skies), it means six more weeks of winter; if it doesn’t see its shadow (thanks to cloudy skies), it means an early spring. The town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, has developed an elaborate Groundhog Day festival centered around their famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil.
[Sung.] “Yakety Sax.”
“Yakety Sax” is a 1963 novelty instrumental song by James “Spider” Rich and Boots Randolph. The tune was made famous by the British skit comedy series The Benny Hill Show (BBC, 1955-1989), which played it over the sped-up, slapstick-y chase scenes that ended each episode.
Well, my peacoat just earned its name.
A peacoat is a heavy wool, double-breasted, short coat worn by sailors in European navies, and later American navies, dating back to the 1700s. The name derives from the heavy “pilot cloth” fabric used to make the coats, which became “p-cloth,” and then “p-coats.”
“Hi-keeba” is an exclamation uttered during a kung fu move. A T-shirt and bumper-sticker level MST3K catchphrase, it was first heard on Show 104, Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
Old Testament justice. A kick for a kick.
Riffing on “An eye for an eye,” which is a graphic description of lex talionis, or “law of retaliation,” the legal principle that a person who injures another person should be punished in a way that corresponds with the injury—in other words, the punishment should fit the crime. The actual phrase “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” appears in several places in the Old Testament: Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. It also appears in the New Testament, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, although he puts a bit of a different spin on it: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
I’m melting ‘cause I’m German!
A reference to the famous scene in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz in which Dorothy throws water over the Wicked Witch and kills her, as the Witch cries, “I’m melting! Melting!”
Arthur Fonzarelli, a.k.a. Fonzie or the Fonz, was the cool one on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days (1974-1984). He was the breakout popular character, the bad boy with a heart of gold, a leather jacket, and a motorcycle. His catchphrase was a long, drawn-out “Ayyyyy!” given with a thumbs up sign.
I gotta lay off the hot cross buns, ooh.
Hot cross buns are a sweet bread roll flavored with spices and fruit and marked with a cross on top. They are traditionally served on Good Friday in Ireland, England, and the former colonies of Great Britain, although they can now be found for sale at other times of the year as well.
This is for Huey, Dewey, and Louie!
Huey, Dewey, and Louie are the young nephews of Disney’s excitable animated Donald Duck, who always wore a sailor’s hat with a ribbon on the back, similar to the ones seen here.
It’s Dirty Debbie Harry.
Dirty Harry is a 1971 action movie starring Clint Eastwood as tough-as-nails San Francisco Police Inspector Harry Callahan. Debbie Harry (b. Angela Trimble) is the lead singer for the band Blondie, known for such 1980s hits as “Heart of Glass” and “Call Me.” Harry has also recorded as a solo artist and appeared in a handful of films.
“Good work, Bradley.” Call me Milton.
See above note on Milton Bradley.
“… put you in the nearest British port.” Then Disneyland.
Disneyland, now called Disneyland Park, is a Disney theme park in Anaheim, California. Since its 1955 opening, Disneyland Park has enjoyed a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world. This might also be a reference to an ad campaign launched in 1987: high-achieving athletes such as Super Bowl quarterbacks and World Series MVPs would be filmed at the end of a triumphant game and asked what they were going to do next, to which they would declare, “I’m going to Disneyland!” or “I’m going to Disney World!”
No, Doug, that’s not how you do the Heimlich.
The Heimlich maneuver, pioneered in 1974 by American physician Henry Heimlich, is a technique for saving a choking person by using abdominal thrusts to dislodge the object that is blocking their airway. However, the Red Cross and the American Heart Association now recommend trying coughing and back slaps first before using the Heimlich.
Another bang-up job from Comcast customer service.
The American telecommunications conglomerate Comcast is the second-largest cable company in the world, and the largest home Internet provider in the United States. Their reputation for terrible customer service is legendary: the American Customer Satisfaction Index has consistently ranked Comcast as having the worst customer satisfaction rating of any company or government agency in the U.S.—even worse than the IRS.
Achtung Baby is the title of Irish rock group U2’s seventh studio album. Recorded in Berlin and Dublin and released in late 1991, the album won a Grammy Award, sold millions of copies, and is considered by many rock critics to be one of the best albums of all time. “Achtung!” is German for “Attention!”
[Imitating.] Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub! Oh!
Andrew Dice Clay (b. Andrew Clay Silverstein) is a standup comedian and actor who was most popular in the late 1980s. One of his early routines involved reciting filthy nursery rhymes in his stage persona, a New York tough guy in biker leather. (MTV banned him for more than 20 years for declaiming two of them on the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989—and for saying a couple of words you can’t say on TV.) Here’s one of the rhymes that got him banned: “Rockabye baby on the treetop/Your mother’s a whore, I ain’t your pop. Oh!” ”Rub-A-Dub-Dub” is a nursery rhyme first published in the late 18th century, although its roots go all the way back to the 14th century. The best-known modern version: “Rub-a-dub-dub/Three men in a tub/And who do you think they be?/The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker/And all of them out to sea.” Fun fact: the original 14th-century version was about “three maids in a tub” and referred to a fairground attraction similar to a modern-day peep show. So the rhyme was already filthy before Clay got his mitts on it.
Tweeting at them now, sir.
The social media platform Twitter, which initially restricted posts to 140 characters (although in 2017 it expanded that limit to 280 characters), got its name because the developers liked a dictionary definition of that word: “a short burst of inconsequential information.”
I’m starting to think this guy doesn’t actually know Morse code.
Morse code is a means of communication developed in the 1830s by American artist and inventor Samuel Morse for use on the telegraph. An operator taps on a lever to send pulses of electrical current along the telegraph cables, causing an electromagnet on the receiving end to click. The Morse alphabet is made up of a combination of dots (short taps) and dashes (long taps). Most people know the distress code “SOS”: three dots, three dashes, three dots.
I’ll hang on to these Walkman headphones for stability.
The forefather of the iPod and other digital personal music players, the Walkman was introduced by Sony in 1979. The original Walkman was a portable stereo cassette player about the size of a Stephen King paperback. By allowing the user to take their chosen music virtually anywhere–and listen to it privately through lightweight headphones–the Walkman completely changed the role music plays in people’s lives.
Keep it cool. They think you know what you’re doing. Fake it till you make it.
The saying “fake it till you make it”—meaning that projecting confidence with an optimistic mindset will lead to genuine success—cropped up sometime in the early 1970s.
Man, the Budenberg levels are off the charts.
The Budenberg Gauge Company, founded in 1918 and now based in Salford, England, manufactures pressure gauges, thermometers, valves, and manifolds.
Roxanne, you don’t have to turn on the red light.
The 1978 song “Roxanne,” by English rock band The Police, barely broke into the Top 40 in the U.S., but nonetheless became one of their signature songs. Sample lyrics: “Roxanne/You don’t have to put on the red light/Those days are over/You don’t have to sell your body to the night.”
“You don’t know how deep it is here.” Radiohead deep.
Formed in 1985, English rock band Radiohead has earned a reputation among critics, peers, and fans for musically sophisticated songs with lyrics that express complex ideas, though some of their more experimental excursions alienated old fans, even while they gained new ones.
[Sung.] Under pressure … in a submarine … [Spoken.] In a submarine …
The 1981 song “Under Pressure” is a collaboration between English rock band Queen and singer David Bowie. Sample lyrics: “Under pressure that burns a building down/Splits a family in two/Puts people on streets …”
[Sung.] Take one down, pass it around … Sixty-six meters of beer on the wall!
A parody of the song “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” a reverse counting song popular with children on field trips. Comedian Andy Kaufman had an excruciating routine based on the song, in which he would sing every single verse, from 99 bottles all the way down to “no bottles.”
Want to join the Mile-Low Club?
Joining the “Mile-High Club” means that one has had sex in an airplane while in flight. According to tradition, the inaugural members of the club were socialite Mrs. Waldo Polk and pilot Lawrence Sperry, inventor of the autopilot, in 1916.
[Imitating.] I’m the worst captain.
An imitation of Droopy, the basset hound with sagging jowls and a slow, deadpan delivery that appeared in twenty-four theatrical shorts released by MGM between 1943 and 1958, and in various other cartoons and later 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.
Okay, boys, international waters. Crank up the Usher and get this party started!
Usher Raymond IV, who professionally goes by just his first name, is a Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter, dancer, actor (Scary Movie 5, 2013), and voice actor (Incredibles 2, 2018).
“Bradley.” It’s Milton.
See above note.
Or a Burger King.
The fast-food chain Burger King was started as Insta-Burger King in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida. Today, there are more than 17,700 locations in 100 countries.
What with those El Niños we’ve heard so much about?
El Niño (Spanish for “the child”) is a series of climate changes—namely, warmer but rainier winters in the northern hemisphere—that occur every few years due to unusually warm ocean water in the equatorial Pacific region.
“Dietz.” Where’s Watson?
Dietz & Watson is an American purveyor of delicatessen foods—meats, cheeses, and condiments. Founded by German sausage maker Gottlieb Dietz and American butcher Walter Watson in 1939, Dietz & Watson products are sold by supermarkets, specialty retailers, and online.
Pretty sneaky, sis.
A line from a 1981 TV commercial for the game Connect 4. When the girl playing the game points out she has won by connecting four pieces diagonally, her brother concedes bitterly, “Pretty sneaky, sis.”
Told you we should have been using Waze.
Waze is a GPS app that provides turn-by-turn navigation directions that are continuously updated with user-provided information about traffic delays, construction, etc. Waze was developed by Israeli company Waze Mobile and introduced in 2006; it is now owned by Google.
Hello, Miss November 1916. Check out those ankles, huh, Milton? –It’s Bradley.
The Playboy Playmate was the model who appeared in the centerfold spread (so to speak) of Playboy magazine. As the magazine was published monthly, calling these “Playmates of the Month” (the official title) “Miss January,” “Miss February,” and so on became a common shorthand. The first featured model in the inaugural issue, published in 1953, was Marilyn Monroe; however, she was titled “Sweetheart of the Month.” In the next issue, January 1954, Margie Harrison was the first to be called “Playmate of the Month.” Playboy went entirely digital in 2020, and starting the following year announced it would choose its Playmates quarterly, rather than monthly. See also above note on Milton Bradley.
I have a hankering for a daiquiri.
A daiquiri is an alcoholic cocktail traditionally consisting of white rum, lime juice, and simple syrup, shaken with cracked ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass.
American comedian and actor Judd Apatow is also a prolific film and television producer. His movies include The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005) and Knocked Up (2007), and he developed and produced such TV shows as Freaks and Geeks (NBC, 1999-2000), for which J. Elvis “Josh” Weinstein was a writer.
“And we should rendezvous within the hour.” Or the pizza’s free.
Domino’s Pizza is a nationwide chain of pizza delivery stores founded in 1960. Beginning in 1979, they offered the “30-Minute Guarantee,” stating that your pizza would arrive within a half-hour or it was free. By the mid-1980s, this was reduced to $3 off. In 1993, after paying out millions in lawsuits due to accidents caused by speeding Domino’s drivers, the guarantee was dropped entirely.
Captain’s log, I’m captain again. So why do I feel so empty inside?
In the original series of Star Trek (NBC, 1966-1969), a frequently used narrative and expository device was Captain James T. Kirk’s voice making an entry into his “Captain’s log.”
“Avon calling” is a slogan for Avon Products Inc., a cosmetics, household, and personal products company that uses a direct sales model, which used to mean door-to-door selling in homes and has grown into more of an MLM organization. To emphasize the door-to-door aspect, the “Ding Dong, Avon Calling” ad campaign was launched in 1954 and ran through 1967, making it one of the longest and most successful advertising campaigns in history.
“Did you know that Mr. Tyler was planning to take us to New England?” Go, Pats! –Go, Sox! –Go, Hartford Yard Goats!
“Pats” is short for the American pro football team the New England Patriots. “Sox” is short for the MLB team the Boston Red Sox. The Hartford Yard Goats are a minor league baseball team based in Hartford, Connecticut.
“How else would it have exploded so quickly?” Pop Rocks?
Pop Rocks are a kind of candy, about the size and shape of rock salt, that come in small paper packets; when eaten, they “pop” and fizz in the mouth. Although the fizzing effect is perfectly safe, achieved by incorporating small pockets of carbonation in the candy, rumors quickly spread on playgrounds across the nation that eating Pop Rocks while drinking soda would cause your stomach to explode. They were first sold to the public in 1975, though the concept was patented in 1956.
Oh, classic no-look pass.
In basketball, a no-look pass, also known as a blind pass, is pretty much what it sounds like: a player looks in one direction while passing the ball to a teammate in another direction, thus faking out the opposing players. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan were all pretty good at it, but no-look passes are risky and fairly rare.
That and the Konami Code.
The Konami Code is a cheat code—a sequence of button pushes on a game controller that enables a cheat in a video game—that can be used in a number of games made by the Japanese company Konami (and in some non-Konami games, as a kind of homage): up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A. It is so well-known that it has made its way into pop culture, appearing in movies, TV shows, comic books, and elsewhere.
Check out McClure’s resting frown face.
Riffing on the “resting bitch face,” which is when a person who is relaxed and not intentionally expressing any emotion nonetheless appears to be angry, contemptuous, or annoyed.
Storage Wars: Submarine Edition!
Storage Wars (A&E, 2001-present) is a reality TV series based around the California law that says if rent hasn’t been paid on a storage locker for three months, its contents can be sold at auction. On the show, potential buyers are allowed five minutes to check out the contents of a locker from the doorway, but can’t enter or touch anything; afterwards, winning bidders sort through the contents and estimate their value.
“Would you like a drink?” Hell yeah, it’s Oktoberfest somewhere.
With 5 p.m. generally marking the end of the workday, it is also a socially acceptable time to begin enjoying cocktails. Those who might want to begin drinking earlier may rationalize their day-drinking with the whimsical proclamation, “Hey, it’s five o’clock somewhere.” Oktoberfest is a sixteen-day folk festival held annually in Munich, Germany, dating back to the early 1800s. Many other cities around the world hold similar festivals around the same time, which is actually the last two weeks of September, spilling into early October. Traditional German foods and lots of beer are involved.
It’d be great if he pulled out a Capri Sun with one straw and they just shared it.
Capri Sun is a brand of fruit juice concentrate drink that is packaged in foil pouches, which you puncture with a straw in order to drink. Named after the Italian island of Capri, the brand is owned by the German company Rudolf Wild GmBH and is licensed to Kraft Foods in North America.
“Captain von Schoenvorts, I, uh …” Need the Wi-Fi password.
Getting Internet connectivity over a wireless local area network using IEEE 802.11 standards is known as Wi-Fi; the word is actually trademarked by the Wi-Fi Alliance. A very early forerunner of Wi-Fi, using a UHF wireless network, first connected the Hawaiian Islands in 1971.
Introduce me to Hasselhoff.
Actor David Hasselhoff is best known in the U.S. for starring in such action-oriented TV series as Knight Rider (NBC, 1982-1986) and Baywatch (NBC, 1989-2001). But in Germany, Hasselhoff is a huge pop star, dating back to 1989 and his album (and title track) Looking for Freedom. That year also marked the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Hasselhoff’s song, which was based on a popular German song from the 1970s, became an enormous hit; the album went triple platinum. Hasselhoff famously performed the song on top of the wall on New Year's Eve, 1989; its destruction had begun less than two months earlier.
[Sung.] Ivory and ivory … go together in perfect harmony … side by side on my U-boat … Icebergs …
Riffing on the 1982 song “Ebony and Ivory,” written by Paul McCartney and recorded as a duet by McCartney and Stevie Wonder; the song was a number one hit in the U.S. and England. Sample lyrics: “Ebony and ivory/Live together in perfect harmony/Side by side on my piano keyboard/Oh Lord, why don’t we?”
Someone really went overboard icing their Toaster Strudel this morgen.
Toaster Strudel is a pastry that is sold frozen, heated in a toaster, then finished with icing that comes in a separate packet. The brand was introduced in 1985 by Pillsbury to compete with Kellogg’s non-frozen Pop Tarts. “Morgen” is German for “morning.”
I’ve always wanted to do this: Iceberg! Roight ahead!
An imitation of the crew member who first spots the iceberg and sounds the alarm in the 1997 epic film Titanic. The role was played by Scott Anderson. The actual lookout on the RMS Titanic who said those words on that fateful night in 1912 was Frederick Fleet. Not-So-Fun-Fact: Fleet survived the Titanic’s sinking—he was one of the sailors manning the lifeboat that carried American socialite “Unsinkable” Molly Brown—and continued working aboard ships, but he later suffered from severe depression and committed suicide in 1965.
That’s where they harvest Paramount Pictures logos.
Paramount Pictures is a Hollywood movie studio, originally established in 1914 by W.W. Hodkinson as a film distributor for several production companies. For most of the studio’s history, the company’s logo has been some form of mountain, sometimes stylized and sometimes more realistic. Paramount is currently owned by Viacom, which bought the studio in 1994.
“Did you ever hear of Caproni?” I’ve heard of Crap-a-roni.
Possibly riffing on the canned pasta in tomato and meat sauce dish Beefaroni, made by Chef Boyardee, which was a big hit with school-age kids in the 1960s and ‘70s, and is still on your grocer’s shelves—in fact, a “Premium” variety is touted as a “Throwback Recipe.” The Chef Boyardee brand is owned by Conagra. Or this could be riffing on the boxed rice/pasta/seasonings mix Rice-A-Roni. That brand is owned by Quaker Oats (which is owned by PepsiCo).
Gave up exploring and went to work for FedEx.
This might be a reference to the 2000 movie Castaway, in which Tom Hanks plays a FedEx executive who survives a plane crash in the ocean and winds up stranded on a deserted island for years. At any rate, FedEx (formerly Federal Express) is a package delivery service that specializes in overnight deliveries. Based in Memphis, Tennessee, it was founded in 1971.
Welcome to cold Jurassic Park!
Riffing on a famous line from the 1993 Steven Spielberg movie Jurassic Park, when park creator John Hammond (played by Richard Attenborough) speaks to a group of scientists/observers as they get their first glimpse of actual dinosaurs, saying, “Welcome … to Jurassic Park!”
[Imitating.] The Cliffs of Insanity!
Imitating actor Wallace Shawn in his beloved role of the scheming kidnapper Vizzini in the 1987 fantasy/adventure movie The Princess Bride, as he points out the towering rock wall known as The Cliffs of Insanity.
Another bad day for U-boat Birdwatching Society.
While there are some birdwatching organizations with similar names—The Hong Kong Birdwatching Society, The Devon Birdwatching and Preservation Society—the really big one for people who are into watching birds, at least in the United States, is the National Audubon Society, incorporated in 1905.
So that’s where iceberg lettuce comes from.
Lettuce began as a weed but was bred by Egyptians to be a leaf-producing vegetable. The “crisphead” or “iceberg” variety was specifically bred to grow in climates like North America—however, this process also removed most of the nutrients and flavor from the leaves.
“Mr. Bradley!” That’s Milton.
See above note.
And so the submarine swims upstream in the hopes of finding a mate with which to spawn.
Possibly an imitation of David Attenborough (brother of Richard “Jurassic Park” Attenborough; see above note), known for narrating (and sometimes writing) many, many BBC nature documentaries.
Oh, no, it’s going under the Wall. The Night’s Watch will never see this coming!
In the world of the TV show Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-2019), and the series of books the show is based on, the Night’s Watch is a military order that guards the immense Wall fortifying the northern border of the Seven Kingdoms.
So they didn’t bring any food, but they brought their Yanni CDs?
Yanni is a Greek New Age keyboardist known for his floaty instrumental compositions, drooping mustache, and long tousled hair. He was also known for his relationship through the 1990s with actress Linda Evans, riffed on mercilessly in Show 512, Mitchell. Yanni is Greek for “Johnny.”
Jacques Cousteau would have had such an easier time if he’d just used models like these guys.
Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) was a French ocean explorer and co-developer of the Aqua-Lung, aka scuba diving equipment. He wrote a number of popular books and produced numerous films about the world’s oceans and marine life. His heavily accented narration on the documentary television series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (syndicated, 1968-1975) has often been parodied.
I don’t care what they say. I love my Nintendo Virtual Boy.
The Nintendo Virtual Boy was a video game console released in 1995 that featured a display similar to virtual reality goggles but mounted on a tabletop stand. Touted as the first console to offer stereoscopic 3D graphics, Virtual Boy was a dismal failure, with users complaining about the high price, lack of portability, few games, and unimpressive graphics. Nintendo pulled the plug in early 1996.
We’ve got a visual on the octopus’s garden.
“Octopus’s Garden” is a 1969 song by the Beatles, written and sung by drummer Ringo Starr. It was the second of only two songs written by Starr that the Beatles released, the other being “Don’t Pass Me By” (1968). Sample lyrics: “I’d like to be under the sea/In an octopus’s garden in the shade/He’d let us in, knows where we’ve been/In his octopus’s garden in the shade.”
Take the shot!
The trope of a hesitant sniper with an intended victim in their weapon’s crosshairs being told to “Take the shot!” has appeared in many films, from Top Gun (1986) to Transformers (2007) to the James Bond movie Skyfall (2012).
The hunt for murky October.
The Hunt for Red October is a 1984 novel by Tom Clancy; it was Clancy’s debut novel and gave rise to the “techno-thriller” genre. The story of a Soviet submarine captain who seemingly goes rogue, the book introduced Clancy’s most popular character, CIA analyst Jack Ryan. The 1990 film adaptation stars Sean Connery as Captain Ramius and Alec Baldwin as Ryan.
Ugh, are they driving through Alka-Seltzer Plus?
Alka-Seltzer is an antacid and pain reliever that comes in the form of tablets that are dissolved in a glass of water, creating an effervescent beverage. Alka-Seltzer Plus is a sister product that also treats cold and flu symptoms. First sold in 1931, the brand is owned by Bayer.
My turn to use the Victrola. Hope you guys like Demi Lovato.
The Victrola was a record player, then called a “talking machine,” introduced in 1906 by the Victor Talking Machine Company. It was the first to have the amplifying horn (the forerunner of a speaker) tucked inside a wooden cabinet, making the unit look less like a machine and more like a piece of furniture. Demi Lovato is an American singer-songwriter and actor who began their career on the kids’ TV series Barney & Friends (PBS, 1992-2010) and went on to regular appearances on the Disney Channel, including starring roles in the Camp Rock films and the series Sonny with a Chance.
They’re streaming this live on Periscope. Ha-ha, I kill me.
Periscope is a live video streaming app for Android and Apple devices that was developed by two guys who observed protests in Istanbul in 2013 and noticed there was no easy way to stream live video of the events on social media. The app was acquired by Twitter shortly before its 2015 launch.
“More power. Gimme more power.” [Grunting like Tim Allen in Home Improvement.]
Tim Allen is an actor and comedian who, among other roles, played Tim Taylor, the host of a home improvement show, on the TV sitcom Home Improvement (ABC, 1991-1999). The character was based on Allen’s standup act—an oafish, all-American dad who frequently lapses into caveman-like grunting and always wants to “rewire” things like lounge chairs and lawn mowers to give them “more power.”
That’s okay. Flo from Progressive says we’re covered.
Flo is an advertising mascot for the American insurance company Progressive Corporation, a relentlessly upbeat salesperson in a white uniform with heavy makeup and a 1950s hairdo. Played by actress/comedian Stephanie Courtney, Flo has appeared in more than 100 ads for Progressive.
Let the baby have his three more knots.
Possibly a reference to the 1992 Simpsons episode “Lisa’s First Word,” in which Homer tries to get Bart to give up his crib to baby Lisa: “All right, I know how to handle this. Just use a little reverse psychology. Let’s go, Marge. Leave the baby with his little crib.”
[Sung.] We all die in a yellow submarine …
Riffing on the 1966 Beatles song “Yellow Submarine,” written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon but sung by Ringo Starr (see above note). It became the title song of the 1968 animated movie Yellow Submarine and its soundtrack album. Though the song was intended as a simple children’s singalong, Beatles fans have assigned all manner of social and political meanings to it over the years. Sample lyrics: “And our friends are all aboard/Many more of them live next door/And the band begins to play/We all live in a yellow submarine/Yellow submarine, yellow submarine.”
Could someone please turn off the Spooktastic Halloween Sound Effects CD?
As Halloween approaches each year, there are innumerable collections of scary sound effects and music available, with Walt Disney Records’ 1964 album Chilling, Thrilling Sound of the Haunted House being one of the most durably popular. However, there doesn’t appear to be a collection with the exact title Spooktastic Halloween Sound Effects.
I’ve got a visual on something living in a pineapple under the sea. –Take the shot.
“Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” According to the theme song, it’s SpongeBob SquarePants, eponymous star of the animated Nickelodeon series, which first aired in 1999. See also above note on “Take the shot!”
For one thing, the music on this side of the tunnel is so much more cheerful. –Yeah, I feel like I’m about to see Flipper.
Flipper is the dolphin star of a series of movies and TV shows that were released between 1963 and 2000. Although Flipper was supposed to be male, the part was actually played by several different female dolphins over the years. The very cheerful theme song for the 1964-1967 NBC-TV series was written by Henry Vars and William “By” Dunham. Sample lyrics: “They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning/No one, you see, is smarter than he/And we know Flipper lives in a world full of wonder/Flying thereunder, under the sea.”
He’s still having flashbacks from dinosaur ‘Nam.
Many veterans of the Vietnam War (1955-1975) suffer from what has now been termed post-traumatic stress disorder, which can take the form of vivid flashbacks, sometimes accompanied by intense feelings of panic. The flashbacks can seem absolutely real and involve such sensory experiences as smells, sounds, and sights.
Just somebody that I used to know.
Possibly a reference to the 2011 Gotye song “Somebody That I Used to Know.” The music video for the song got massive play on YouTube (more than 200 million views in the first year; 1.7 billion at the time of this writing), and a cover by Walk Off the Earth topped 100 million views the following year.
[Sung.] So sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a submarine. And a bunch of German guys, and Doug McClure. A three Doug McClure … a three …
Gilligan’s Island (CBS, 1964-1967) is a TV sitcom about a group marooned on an island after a “three-hour tour” by boat goes bad. The theme song, written by composer George Wyle and show producer Sherwood Schwartz, has taken its place among campy pop-culture artifacts. Sample lyrics: “Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale/A tale of a fateful trip/That started from this tropic port/Aboard this tiny ship/The mate was a mighty sailing man, the skipper brave and sure/Five passengers set sail that day, on a three-hour tour/A three-hour tour.” See also above note on Doug McClure.
Well, wherever we are better have a 24 Hour Fitness. Body’s a temple, fellas. Remember that.
24 Hour Fitness is an American chain of more than 400 fitness centers in 13 states; it was founded in 1983 and is headquartered in San Ramon, California. The phrase “Your body is a temple” actually comes from the New Testament of the Bible—specifically Corinthians 6:19: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?”
Oh, they drifted onto the set of Avatar.
The 2009 film Avatar, written, directed, and produced by James Cameron, is set on the distant planet Pandora, which is lushly forested with brightly colored, and often glowing, plants and animals. Avatar’s groundbreaking visual effects and presentation in 3D helped make it the highest-grossing film of all time.
Hey, we got here just in time for Steve Aoki.
Steve Aoki is an American musician, DJ, and producer known for electronic dance music (EDM) and for his remixes of tracks by other EDM and hip-hop artists. Fun fact: His father founded the Benihana restaurant chain.
The guy from Edvard Munch’s The Scream.
Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) created The Scream in 1893, featuring the agonized face of a man standing before a blood-red sunset. Munch actually created multiple versions of the piece, in paint, pastels, and a lithograph stone. The image has become one of the most iconic in the art world, symbolizing the anxiety-ridden torment of the human condition. The Scream is actually the popular name for the work—Munch’s original German title was Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature); its Norwegian title is Skrik (Shriek).
Hey, locals only!
“Locals only” is the rallying cry of residents expressing hostility toward outsiders. Born on the surfing beaches of Southern California, where local surfers felt the need to defend their waves from surfers who had traveled to the beach from the nearby San Fernando Valley, the “locals only” ethos can now also be found in neighborhood coffee shops or other social gathering places. A loosely organized group of youths in Malibu, California, known as Malibu Locals Only (MLO) has been hassling non-locals since the early 1960s.
Ooh, Captains & Tennille.
The Captain & Tennille (aka Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille) were a Grammy Award-winning husband-and-wife soft-rock duo in the 1970s with such hits as “Muskrat Love” and “Love Will Keep Us Together.” They had their own TV variety show from 1976-1977. Dragon’s (1942-2019) stage and on-camera appearances always included a captain’s hat.
Ladies and gentlemen, look to the skies for the Green Angels.
The Blue Angels is the U.S. Navy’s flight demonstration/aerial acrobatics team. Formed in 1946 and currently flying McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets, the Blue Angels give around 60 performances a year at various air shows around the country.
There’s always a bigger fish.
In Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, there is a longish sequence in which Our Heroes are menaced by a series of huge fish, which are in turn eaten by increasingly larger fish—a turn of events summed up by Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) with the above line. It was quickly turned into a meme.
[Sung.] You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.
The opening line of the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” written by Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel and Albert Hague, for the 1966 animated TV special Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. 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.”
I smell Hasenpfeffers.
Hasenpfeffer is a traditional German dish: a hearty stew made with rabbit, wine, onions, and vinegar, among other ingredients.
Wait’ll they get a load of me.
Probably a reference to the perpetually smiling Joker, as played by Jack Nicholson, who spoke this line in the 1989 film Batman.
“Look at that big crocodile.” I bet he remembers when rock was young.
Riffing on the 1973 song “Crocodile Rock,” by Elton John. Sample lyrics (by Bernie Taupin): “I remember when rock was young/Me and Suzie had so much fun/Holding hands and skimming stones/Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own.”
My sea-monkey! Look at him!
“Sea-Monkeys” are in fact brine shrimp, a tiny crustacean that can undergo cryptobiosis—a kind of suspended animation in which an organism can live indefinitely in the absence of water or oxygen and then return to an animated state once environmental conditions have been restored. Following the success of rival Milton Levine’s Ant Farms in the 1950s, Harold von Braunhut introduced a mail-order product called “Instant Life” in 1957. In 1962 he changed the name to “Sea-Monkeys” and heavily advertised them in comic books, marketing them as pets similar to tropical fish. Many children were disappointed when their new “Sea-Monkeys,” which were illustrated as little humanoid animals, turned out to be nearly microscopic shrimp.
Don’t do that. He thinks you’re a hot dog on a Weber grill.
Weber-Stephen Products LLC is an American maker of a wide range of barbecue and grilling equipment, accessories, and cookbooks—there are also a couple of Weber Grill restaurants. The company was founded in 1893 as Weber Brothers Metal Works; the iconic Weber kettle grill was developed by George Stephen in the early 1950s.
The Loch Ness Monster, affectionately dubbed “Nessie,” is a legendary creature, thought by some to be a surviving dinosaur, that supposedly inhabits Loch Ness in Scotland. Numerous sightings, including several photographs, have been reported, although the most famous photo, taken in 1934, has since been revealed as a hoax. Several scientific expeditions have uncovered no hard evidence.
Women and Blutos first!
“Women and children first” is a code of conduct aboard ships in distress, when resources for survival—namely lifeboats—are in short supply. Also known as the Birkenhead Drill (named for the HMS Birkenhead, which sank in 1852 with 643 people aboard, only 193 of which survived, mostly women and children), the code is just that: it has no basis in maritime law. When the HMS Titanic sank in 1912 with nowhere near enough lifeboats, many male crew members and passengers stayed behind and perished, including some of the wealthiest men of that era. In total, 74 percent of women and 50 percent of the children on the Titanic survived the sinking; only 16 percent of the men did. Bluto was Popeye’s burly, bearded archnemesis and his chief rival for the hand of the strangely rubbery Olive Oyl in the series of Popeye the Sailor short cartoons. He first appeared in the cartoons in 1932, but for a time, thanks to some copyright confusion over who owned the rights to the Bluto name, he was called Brutus.
Have you heard the good news about me eating you?
“Have you heard the good news about our Lord and savior?” is a frequent conversation starter for evangelical Christians in their efforts to spread the faith.
I love it when a plan comes together.
This was a catchphrase often used by the leader of the A-Team (on their eponymous show, which ran from 1983-1987), John “Hannibal” Smith (played by George Peppard). Most episodes involved an elaborate scheme to foil the baddies of the week; Hannibal first uttered the line in the pilot episode. Liam Neeson, who played Hannibal in the 2010 film based on the show, also used the line several times.
[Imitating.] Nah, no plesiosaurs horning in on our territory, see? Pump you full of lead, yeah.
An imitation of Edward G. Robinson (b. Emanuel Goldenberg, 1893-1973), an American actor who earned his chops playing gangsters and other tough guys during the 1930s and ‘40s. He had a particularly distinctive nasal and staccato speaking style. Some of his best-known films include Little Caesar (1931), Double Indemnity (1944), Key Largo (1948), and The Ten Commandments (1956).
Now, that’s a paleo diet.
The paleo diet, also called the caveman diet, is a fad diet that requires you to eat only foods presumed to have been around during the Paleolithic era. It ignores the fact that human digestion has evolved over the last two million years or so, and most medical folks dismiss the paleo diet, along with other fad diets, as nutritionally unsound.
It’s a primordial swamp-to-table restaurant.
The “farm-to-table” social movement promotes serving food in restaurants that is acquired directly from local producers, such as farms, ranches, breweries and wineries, fisheries, and fishing boats. The term “primordial swamp,” also called “primordial soup,” refers to the hypothetical mixture of conditions on Earth four billion years ago (give or take) that allowed life to begin.
“Commander, a proposition for you.” A million dollars for a night with your chef.
In the 1993 movie Indecent Proposal, a billionaire (played by Robert Redford) offers a million dollars to an acquaintance (Woody Harrelson) to spend the night with Harrelson’s wife (Demi Moore). Marital tension ensues.
Sounds like a das trick.
Riffing on the title of the 1981 film Das Boot (The Boat), about the crew of a German U-boat during World War II.
This looks pretty paint-by-numbers. –The background or the plot?
Paint-by-number kits were an extremely popular hobby in the 1950s and are still sold today. A typical kit includes a blank canvas with light outlines of shapes, each of which is assigned a number. By applying the paint marked with the same number, you can create a crude reproduction of the original painting. They are designed for students with little or no painting experience.
“They almost seem to …” Mosh.
Moshing, also called slam dancing, was born out of the hardcore punk rock, thrash metal, and grunge rock scenes in the early ‘80s. Moshers basically slam their torsos into one another, usually in an area right up close to the stage, which led to that area being dubbed the “mosh pit.”
“German metaphysics.” You mean eugenics?
Eugenics is the notion of improving the quality of the human race by selectively breeding only groups judged to be genetically superior and excluding those judged to be genetically inferior. The concept goes back to 400 B.C., when Plato suggested the selective breeding of humans. Always on morally and ethically dubious ground, eugenics became permanently associated with Nazi Germany after World War II, when the Nazis’ efforts to create an Aryan “master race” came to light.
That’s a good point. Jonah, what do you drink? –Well, have you ever seen the opening of Waterworld? –Ew, you drink copies of Waterworld? –Oh, forget it.
The 1995 epic megaflop movie Waterworld opens with a scene of star Kevin Costner aboard his multi-hulled boat, using his own reprocessed urine as drinking water. While this is a wholly legitimate technique—NASA uses it aboard the ISS—movie audiences really didn’t want to see it.
Heil ... I mean hey.
“Sieg heil” (German for “hail victory”) or “Heil Hitler” were often said by Germans as they saluted Hitler or other Nazi leaders and were often chanted at the enormous rallies staged by the Nazi Party.
Now, remember, if we find any indigenous people, I’m the god. —[Both.] Yes, Mr. McClure. —But if it’s, uh, one of those cultures that kills its god, then Bradley’s the god. —[Both.] Yes, Mr. McClure.
Probably a reference to the 1962 Twilight Zone episode “The Little People,” in which two astronauts discover a civilization of tiny people on an alien planet, and one of them convinces the miniature aliens that he is a god. It all ends with an ironic twist, of course.
Remember the butterfly effect, boys.
The butterfly effect is the idea that, in complex systems, small causes can lead to large effects. A component of chaos theory, the name comes from a simplistic example: the flapping of a distant butterfly’s wings influencing the later formation and path of a tornado. The concept is popular in science fiction, especially in stories about time travel, which often dramatize how making even tiny changes to the past can lead to unpredictable and possibly catastrophic consequences in the future.
Oh, wait, this is where they run into Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.
The 1951 movie The African Queen stars Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) as a rough-and-tumble riverboat captain and Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) as a buttoned-down missionary indulging in a little light wartime sabotage as they traverse an African river during World War I. Bogart won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role (his only Oscar), and the movie’s dilapidated-riverboat-in-the-jungle setting became the basis for Disney theme parks’ Jungle Cruise attraction.
Ah, fall, when a young man’s fancy turns to squishy piles of leaves.
Riffing on a line from the 1835 Alfred Tennyson poem “Locksley Hall”: “In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.”
Gentlemen, I give you the future site of the Caprona Five Guys.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a fast-food chain that was founded in Arlington, Virginia, in 1986 and now has more than 1,500 locations in 15 countries.
Like Knott’s Berry Farm.
Knott’s Berry Farm is a theme park in Buena Park, California, offering roller coasters, dark rides, and water rides to around four million visitors a year. In the 1920s, Walter Knott began selling berries and pies from a roadside stand, and by the 1930s, they had a restaurant and storefront. In 1940, they began adding on attractions, which led to the slogan, “America’s First Theme Park.” In the 1990s, the Knott family sold the food business to ConAgra (which later sold it to J.M. Smucker Co.) and the amusement park to Cedar Fair.
[Imitating radio DJ.] The ‘80s, the ‘90s, and today!
“Hits from the ‘80s, the ‘90s, and today” is a common slogan for radio stations with a fairly broad format, considering the “today” component now covers two decades.
Terrence Malick’s Planet of the Apes.
Terrence Malick is an American director known for slow-moving and meditative films like Badlands (1973) and The Tree of Life (2011). An early scene in the classic 1968 science fiction movie Planet of the Apes shows primitive tribespeople being chased through tall grasslands by apes on horseback. The Planet of the Apes franchise encompasses five films made between 1968 and 1973, a short-lived live-action TV series as well as an animated one, numerous books and graphic novels, a poorly received 2001 film remake directed by Tim Burton, and a successful reboot of the film series beginning in 2011. Based on a 1963 novel by Pierre Boulle, the stories revolve around an earth of the future where humans clash with intelligent apes who rule the land.
Jim Henson’s Lou Ferrigno Babies.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies is an animated series about the exploits of kid versions of the popular Muppet characters. It originally aired on CBS from 1984 to 1991 and has enjoyed a robust afterlife in syndication. Variants of “Jim Henson’s ________ Babies” are a standard MST3K riff, a legacy of the original seasons. Lou Ferrigno is a bodybuilder and actor who is best known for playing the Incredible Hulk in the TV series of the same name, which aired from 1978-1982; he also starred as Hercules in the 1983 remake of the old Steve Reeves films.
I Was a Teenage Klingon.
I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957), starring Michael Landon (which became MST3K Show 809), was one of the earliest and best-known movies to adopt the “I Was a Teenage …” title convention: it was quickly followed by I Was a Teenage Frankenstein, made by the same studio. Many other low-budget horror movies followed with similar titles, and the trope became a pop-culture in-joke: the alternate title for the 1995 comedy Clueless was I Was a Teenage Teenager, and Barry “Greg Brady” Williams’ 1992 autobiography is titled Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg. Klingons are the most famous adversaries of the United Federation of Planets, as depicted in the original Star Trek series (1966-1969), the animated series (1973-1974), and many of the feature films. In Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994), the Klingons were allies of the Federation (though that fell apart briefly in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine [1993-1999]). In the original series, Klingons were depicted as heavily tanned humans with sinister facial hair. Their look was updated for 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture to include ridged foreheads, and their appearance has involved prosthetics ever since.
John Stamos is an actor best known for playing Jesse Katsopolis on the TV sitcom Full House (ABC, 1987-1995); he is also known for having been married to supermodel Rebecca Romijn from 1998-2005.
[Sung.] People, let me tell you about my best friend … He’s a warm-hearted person who loves me till the end …
A reference to the theme song to the TV sitcom The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (ABC, 1969-1972), which plays over an opening montage of the titular father (played by Bill Bixby) and his young son Eddie (Brandon Cruz) frolicking on beaches, in pools, in fields, through amusement parks, etc. The song, “Best Friend,” was written and performed by Harry Nilsson. Sample lyrics: “People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend/He’s a warm-hearted person who’ll love me till the end/People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend/He’s a one boy cuddly toy, my up, my down, my pride and joy.”
The corporate team-building exercise that time forgot.
Large corporations sometimes send their employees on team-building exercises, which focus on strengthening interpersonal relationships and collaboration, as opposed to team-training exercises, which focus on improving efficiency.
We’ll bottle it, charge too much, and call it Evian.
Evian is a brand of mineral water that comes from the south shore of Lake Geneva in France. Evian was introduced to the U.S. market in 1978, at a time when Perrier water was also peaking in popularity: much ballyhoo was made at the time about the high price of mineral waters, with the (then quite spendy) price of around a dollar a bottle seen as the height of yuppie foolishness.
God as my witness, I will kill every one of these miracles.
Possibly referencing a famous line from the 1939 epic film Gone with the Wind, spoken by Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara: “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”
Oh, I can never get these Magic Eye pictures to work. I know I’m supposed to see two dinosaurs, but it just looks like a green pattern. Am I doing it wrong, guys?
Although there is a series of Magic Eye books, first published in 1993, the term has become a genericized name for autostereograms: 2D patterns that reveal 3D images within them. Viewing the 3D images requires altering your depth perception, which some people can do readily, others need a little practice, and still others can never seem to manage.
[Imitating.] Be vewy, vewy quiet. We’re hunting Tywannosaurus wexes. Heh heh heh heh heh …
Elmer Fudd is a character in Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons: a hunter with a speech impediment usually pitted against Bugs Bunny (and sometimes Daffy Duck). One of his most imitated lines was “Be vewy, vewy quiet—I’m hunting wabbits. Heh heh heh heh heh.” He first appeared in 1940’s Elmer’s Candid Camera and was voiced by Arthur Q. Bryan from 1940 to 1959. After Bryan’s death, he was voiced by Hal Smith, Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergman, Greg Burson, and Billy West, among others.
This is a scene from Field of Nightmares.
Field of Dreams is a 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner as a Midwestern farmer who hears a mysterious voice instructing him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield.
Khal Drogo, the chieftain of a nomadic horse tribe, is a character in the fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin, which were adapted into the TV series Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-2019). In the HBO series, Drogo was played by a heavily eyebrowed and pointy-bearded Jason Momoa.
A popular catchphrase of Scooby-Doo, this is Scooby’s way of saying “Uh-oh!” Scooby-Doo is the anthropomorphic Great Dane who first appeared in the animated TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (CBS, 1969-1978), voiced by Don Messick.
Don’t panic. It’s a flash mob. Just let them get their artistic expression out of their systems and they’ll disperse.
A flash mob is a group of people who have organized on social media or through emails and made plans to assemble at a specific time in a public place to perform a bizarre or pointless act—such as freezing in place or engaging in a pillow fight—and then quickly disperse, in order to surprise and entertain passersby.
Go, Packers! –Packers win the Super Bowl!
The Green Bay Packers are a professional football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The phrases “Go Packers!” and “Packers win the Super Bowl!” feature prominently in Show 810, The Giant Spider Invasion.
[Sung.] Open the door, get on the floor … Everybody shoot the dinosaurs … Open the door, get on the floor …
Riffing on the 1987 song “Walk the Dinosaur” by American rock group Was (Not Was). Sample lyrics: “Open the door, get on the floor/Everybody walk the dinosaur/Open the door, get on the floor/Everybody walk the dinosaur.”
Boy, why’d you have to go and get yourself rabies?
Spoiler alert: At the end of the 1957 film Old Yeller, based on the 1956 Fred Gipson novel by the same name, Travis Coates (played by Tommy Kirk) has to shoot his beloved dog with a rifle, because it has contracted rabies.
Shoot him! He’s the evil clone! —No, I’m not! Shoot him! —Let’s shoot both of them.
The “Which One’s the Impostor” trope has been used probably hundreds of times in comics, TV, films, etc. The original Star Trek TV series was particularly fond of this plot device: in the episode “Whom Gods Destroy,” for instance, Spock shoots the alien shapeshifter impersonating Kirk when the real Kirk tells him to stun both of them—reasoning that the alien would never give that order.
And if that doesn’t work, you can throw your shoes at him.
Possibly a reference to an incident in 2008 when an Iraqi journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, threw his shoes at then-President George W. Bush in protest of the American invasion of his country in the Iraq War. Bush ducked and was not hit, and al-Zaidi was arrested, eventually serving nine months in prison.
[Sung.] He’s going down … They’re yelling timber …
Riffing on the 2013 song “Timber” by American rapper Pitbull (b. Armando Christian Perez), which topped the charts in 20 countries. Sample lyrics: “It’s going down, I’m yelling timber/You better move, you better dance/Let’s make a night, you won’t remember/I’ll be the one, you won’t forget.”
This isn’t Haight Street.
The Haight-Ashbury is a district in San Francisco, California, famed as the epicenter of the hippie counterculture in the late 1960s. Haight Street is the main street that runs through the district, from Market Street in the east to Golden Gate Park in the west.
Hey, come back and tell us how we can save 15 percent or more on our car insurance!
GEICO auto insurance company launched their “Caveman” series of commercials in 2004, created by The Martin Agency. The ads featured Neanderthal-like cavemen in modern dress and modern situations, encountering GEICO ads declaring “It’s so easy a caveman could do it,” and being offended by the stereotype that cavemen are stupid. In 2007, ABC aired a sitcom based on the GEICO characters, titled Cavemen, that portrayed cavemen as an ethnic minority in modern-day San Diego; bad reviews and low ratings led to a quick cancellation after seven episodes. The following year, another series of GEICO caveman ads satirized the TV series. “Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance” is a longtime ad slogan for GEICO.
Baloo the bear.
The Jungle Book is the name of a collection of stories by British author Rudyard Kipling that was first published in 1893. Several stories deal with a boy named Mowgli, raised by wolves in India and aided by a friendly bear named Baloo. Live-action adaptations of some of the stories were filmed in 1937, 1942, 1994, 1997, and 1998. The most famous adaptation is an animated film by Disney released in 1967, in which Baloo was voiced by comedian and musician Phil Harris. A big-budget live-action/CGI adaptation in 2016 features the voice of Bill Murray as Baloo.
Bowen Tyler shaved that caveman, and his name was Dr. Steve Brule, and now you know the rest of the story. I’m Paul Harvey. Good day.
Dr. Steve Brule was a recurring character on the sketch comedy TV series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Adult Swim, 2007-2010). Played by John C. Reilly, the character got his own spinoff series in 2008: Check It Out! with Dr. Steve Brule. This whole riff is the way veteran broadcaster Paul Harvey (1918-2009) phrased the conclusion of his daily radio feature The Rest of the Story.
Double rainbow. What does it mean?
In January 2010, former firefighter Paul Vasquez posted a video on YouTube of a double rainbow he spotted just outside Yosemite National Park, with his very emotional reaction filling the soundtrack with exclamations of “Oh my God!” and “What does this mean?” That summer, Jimmy Kimmel linked to the video on Twitter, calling it “the funniest video in the world.” The video quickly went viral and as of this writing has racked up more than 46 million views.
They’re rowing through a Monet.
Claude Monet (1840-1926) was a celebrated Impressionist painter known especially for his series paintings (haystacks, Rouen Cathedral) and for the paintings of his gardens in Giverny. His best-known series from his gardens was Water Lilies.
Oh, you missed it. We just shot the “In the Navy” video.
“In the Navy” is a 1979 song by disco group and gay stereotype enthusiasts Village People. The official music video for the song features the group performing on the deck of the Navy frigate USS Reasoner. The shoot had the Navy’s full cooperation, which originally intended to use the video as a recruitment tool, but it backpedaled furiously once it was better informed about the Village People’s status in gay culture.
A bona fide MST3K reboot catchphrase: shouting “Bang!” when a character in the movie is handling a firearm a little too casually reached critical mass in Show 1102, Cry Wilderness. The riff was also used extensively in the 2017 MST3K Live “Watch Out for Snakes Tour” rendering of Eegah. Before that, Cinematic Titanic used it in their 2009 live performance of East Meets Watts, and Rifftrax used it in Plan 9 From Outer Space.
Guys, this is my cousin Balki.
Balki Bartokomous (played by Bronson Pinchot) is a character on the TV sitcom Perfect Strangers (ABC, 1986-1993), a naive, well-meaning Greek immigrant and distant cousin to the show’s lead character, Larry Appleton (Mark-Linn Baker).
[Sung.] What’s this? What’s this? What’s this? What’s this? What’s this?
A line from the song “What’s This?” from the 1993 movie musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, performed by Danny Elfman. Sample lyrics: “What’s this? What’s this?/There’s color everywhere/What’s this?/There’s white things in the air/What’s this?”
“Some were almost like apes, others closer to, uh …” Kid Rock fans.
Kid Rock (b. Robert James Ritchie) is an American singer, rapper, musician, producer, and sometime actor. Kid Rock’s taste for drunken brawls has led to numerous brushes with the law for assault, and his display of the Confederate flag at his shows and his conservative political views have appealed to some fans while repelling others.
Ahm’s your basic steampunk Jim Morrison.
Steampunk is a subgenre of sci-fi/fantasy that revolves around 19th-century steam-powered technology and aesthetics, usually incorporated into an alternate history timeline, such as Victorian-era Europe or the American Wild West. Authors include Phil and Kaja Foglio (Girl Genius) and China Miéville (Perdido Street Station). Steampunk-inspired fashions often involve top hats, goggles, brass fittings, and lots and lots of gears. Jim Morrison (1943-1971) was the lead singer for The Doors. In 1971 he moved to Paris after some trouble with the law (he was convicted of indecent exposure in Florida for allegedly exposing himself onstage; he was posthumously pardoned in 2010). There he grew a full, black beard and gained quite a bit of weight—soon after he was found dead in his bathtub.
“He knows about fire.” He quested for it.
The 1981 science fantasy movie Quest for Fire features Ron Perlman and Rae Dawn Chong as Paleolithic humans struggling to obtain and control fire.
No, you give oil to the Tin Man, not the Lion.
Two of Dorothy’s faithful companions in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz are the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodsman, also known as the Tin Man. When Dorothy first meets the Tin Man (played by Jack Haley), he is rusted solid, only managing to squeak out the words “Oil can!” Dorothy and the Scarecrow restore him to full movement by oiling his joints.
Hodor is a character in the fantasy novels of George R.R. Martin, which were adapted into the television series Game of Thrones (HBO, 2011-2019). Hodor is a stableboy, a simple-minded gentle giant with great physical strength, who can only say one word: “hodor.” In the TV series he is played by Kristian Nairn as an adult and Sam Coleman as a child.
So who’s Dumb and who’s Dumber?
The 1994 screwball comedy movie Dumb and Dumber features Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as two extremely stupid friends on a cross-country road trip with a briefcase full of ransom money. The movie became a cult favorite, spawning an animated TV series, a 2003 prequel, and a 2014 sequel.
“Sto-Lu. Sto-Lu.” Su-su-sudio.
“Sussudio” is a 1985 song by British singer-songwriter and drummer Phil Collins; the song became a number-one hit in the U.S., and its video got heavy play on MTV. Sample lyrics: “But I feel so good if I just say the word/Su-Sussudio/Just say the word, oh/Su-Sussudio/Oh.”
Future site of Castle Grayskull.
On the 1983-1985 animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Castle Grayskull was the center of mystic power on the planet Eternia, from which Prince Adam drew his power to become the ridiculously muscular He-Man.
This is the desktop background that comes with Mac OS X Caprona.
Mac OS X, now just called macOS, is the second major series of operating systems for Apple Macintosh computers. Some of the versions of OS X along the way featured interesting names, such as Mac OS X Snow Leopard. Each major version has come with a different default desktop wallpaper, which range from colorful abstracts to photos of outer space and landscapes.
My dearest Eulabelle, the bloody war between the North and the thunder lizards continues without end. One of the simple local townsfolk has led us deep into enemy territory. I miss toilet paper. Love, yours truly, Ambrose.
The 1990 PBS documentary miniseries The Civil War, by filmmaker Ken Burns, often featured narration by actors reciting letters home written by soldiers. “Thunder lizard” refers to the brontosaurus (aka apatosaurus): in Greek, bronte is “thunder,” and sauros means “lizard.”
My mustache sense is tingling. You know, ever since I was bitten by that radioactive mustache, I’ve known that with a great mustache comes great responsibility.
A batch of Spider-Man references: Spider-Man’s “spider-sense” alerts him to danger with a tingling sensation, he became Spider-Man thanks to a bite from a radioactive spider, and his moral center is the aphorism “With great power comes great responsibility.” Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko who debuted in 1962, boasting super strength, agility, and the ability to stick to walls. The character has appeared in several animated and live-action television shows, a series of wildly profitable feature films, and a Broadway flop.
I’m going to put shaving cream in his hand and tickle his nose. –I’m going to put his hand in warm water and make him pee.
A couple of classic light-pranking moves popular with youngsters at sleepover camps and slumber parties, when at least one kid is fast asleep and others are awake and ready for mischief. Putting shaving cream in a sleeper’s hand and then tickling their nose will usually result in them smearing the stuff on their face. However, the “science entertainment” TV program MythBusters tried testing the second prank, even using sleep monitoring equipment to ensure the subject was genuinely asleep and got zero results. Myth busted!
Do Doug McClures dream of electric barbecue?
A reference to the 1968 science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, which became the basis for the groundbreaking 1982 movie Blade Runner and its 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049.
[Sung.] The best part of waking up … Is Folgers in your cu … Ahh!
An advertising jingle for Folgers coffee cheerfully sings: “The best part of waking up … is Folger’s in your cup.” Inspired by the 1964 song “(The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up,” written by Phil Spector and recorded by The Ronettes, the jingle was introduced in 1984 and is still going strong, having been rearranged over the years by such artists as Richie Havens and Aretha Franklin.
Oh, could have gotten the jump on that guy if you had a weapon and weren’t screaming like King Diamond.
King Diamond (b. Kim Bendix Petersen) is a Danish singer and musician known for his impressive vocal range, especially his piercing falsetto.
The Croods Netflix show is so much more violent than the movie was.
The Croods is a 2013 computer-animated movie about a family of prehistoric cavemen trying to find a new home after their cave is destroyed by an earthquake. Produced by DreamWorks Animation, it features the voices of Nicolas Cage, Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Cloris Leachman. It was a critical and commercial success, bringing in more than $500 million at the box office. A Netflix series, Dawn of the Croods, debuted in December 2015, and a theatrical sequel, The Croods: A New Age, was released in 2020.
Now, this is what I’d call a rumble in the jungle.
“The Rumble in the Jungle” is the popular name for a historic boxing match in 1974 between then-heavyweight champion George Foreman and former heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali, which took place in Zaire (now The Republic of Congo). Ali won by a knockout in the eighth round. The fight is famous for its huge audience—60,000 in attendance and an estimated TV audience of one billion—and for Ali’s first use of his “rope-a-dope” tactic: letting his opponent batter away at him, tiring him out, and then unleashing an offensive onslaught to finish him off.
When panty raids go wrong.
Panty raids were a craze on college campuses after World War II, in which male students would “raid” the women’s dorms to capture their underwear. This was an era in which men and women were forbidden to enter each other’s dorm buildings, and the panty raids were often seen as a form of protest—many women cheered the raiders on, left doors unlocked to assist them, or launched counterstrikes on the men’s dorms. But there were certainly less light-hearted raids that led to broken windows, injuries, and other serious damage.
I’d say they’re between a rock and a fireplace. Just an observation.
The origin of the idiom “between a rock and a hard place” lies in ancient Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus must pass between Charybdis, a deadly whirlpool, and Scylla, a cliff-dwelling, man-eating monster. So saying one is stuck between a rock (the cliff) and a hard place (the whirlpool) is a metaphor for being caught in a dilemma with no good outcome.
[Sung.] Bonanza theme.
Bonanza was a TV western that aired from 1959 to 1973 on NBC. The opening credits began with a shot of a map bursting into flame and the lead cast could be seen riding their horses through the resulting hole.
Just look at these SAT scores.
The SAT Reasoning Test, formerly known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, is a standardized written exam given to high school seniors as part of the college preparation process; most colleges and universities consider SAT scores as one of the major criteria for acceptance. This started to change during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, however, as many high school seniors were unable to take the test, and many colleges announced they would no longer require SAT scores as part of the application process.
[Imitating Dennis Miller.] Ol’ Ahmsky here is making Encino Man look like Niles Crane, cha-chi.
An imitation of comedian, actor, and right-wing blowhard Dennis Miller, whose frequent use of the phrase “cha-cha” or “cha-chi” is itself an imitation of Rat Pack regular Sammy Davis Jr. Encino Man is a 1992 comedy movie starring Brendan Fraser as a frozen caveman brought back to life in modern-day Encino, California. Niles Crane (played by David Hyde Pierce) is the snobby, haughty younger brother of Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer) in the TV sitcom Frasier (NBC, 1993-2004).
Ahm have PowerPoint presentation to show you.
Microsoft PowerPoint is a computer program that can display information from simple charts and graphs to complex multimedia presentations. It was originally an Apple product, but Microsoft bought it shortly after it debuted in 1987; it was one of Microsoft’s first big acquisitions. Bundled with the Microsoft Office suite of programs starting in 1990, PowerPoint quickly became so ubiquitous in business that eye-rolling mockery soon followed.
He’s Keith Haring. –Do you mean Keith Hairy? Hmm?
Keith Haring (1958-1990) was an artist known for active, colorful paintings of dancing little people drawn in simple, thick black lines; they were particularly popular with children. He derived a large part of his inspiration from the bold forms of street graffiti. Haring died of AIDS at the age of 31.
Nobody want to play Hangman?
Hangman is a game played with paper and pencil by two or more players. One player thinks of a word or phrase and draws a dash for each letter it contains. The other player(s) suggests letters: each correct guess is written on the appropriate dash, and each incorrect guess becomes one element in a stick figure drawing of a man being hanged from a gallows (torso, arm, leg, head, etc.). The game ends when either the word/phrase is completed (one letter at a time, or when a player guesses the entire word/phrase), or when the drawing is finished and the man is “hanged.”
Wow, BP sure did a great job cleaning up this place.
On April 20th, 2010, an explosion and fire on the oil-drilling rig Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico, operated by British Petroleum (BP), led to the largest marine oil spill in history, and one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. An estimated 210 million gallons of crude oil were released, impacting marine and wildlife habitats and, of course, beaches, fishing, and tourism as the mess rolled ashore. BP pled guilty to 11 felony counts, was slapped with a $4.5 billion fine, and supposedly paid out some $65 billion in cleanup costs, but many environmentalists insist BP’s cleanup efforts and accountability were inadequate. Also, “… did a great job cleaning up this place” has a familiar ring to it …
Talk about Land of the Lost. Poor dummy.
Land of the Lost (NBC, 1974-1976) was a Saturday morning live-action children’s sci-fi series produced by Sid and Marty Krofft (who also gave us H.R. Pufnstuf). It was about the Marshall family (dad, son, and daughter) who went over a waterfall and into an alternate universe populated by dinosaurs and lizard-like Sleestaks. The show saw a short-lived reboot in 1991 and a film in 2009.
That’s Caprona’s famous five Triceratops egg omelet. Hashtag #brunch.
The notion of a metadata tag added to messages on social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook, which allows users to easily find other messages on a certain topic or theme, originated with tech developer Chris Messina, who in 2007 proposed putting a pound sign, or hash mark, in front of keywords or phrases on Twitter (which the company reportedly told Messina at the time “was for nerds”).
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Dinos.
Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots by Marx has been a popular kids’ game since 1964. Two plastic robots, the Red Rocker and the Blue Bomber, duke it out in a boxing ring; a blow to the chin will cause their head to pop up, winning the round. The game was invented by Chicago-based toy design firm Marvin Glass and Associates. Joel used Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots in his prop-comic act during the early 1980s—usually by challenging a heckler to a duel and then revealing that he had super-glued his robot’s head in place, ensuring his victory.
[All.] Worldstar! Worldstar! –Freedom! –Adrian! –Khan!
WorldstarHipHop, dubbed the “CNN of the ghetto” by its founder, is a social media site that features user-uploaded cell phone videos of people fighting, stealing, or otherwise behaving badly in public. Beginning in 2012, at some public fights, onlookers began chanting “Worldstar! Worldstar!” in anticipation of the melee showing up on the site. In the 1995 epic film Braveheart, Mel Gibson gives a rousing speech to his men before leading them into battle against the English; his iconic line is “They may take our lives, but they will never take … our FREEDOM!” At the conclusion of the 1976 sports drama film Rocky, a pummeled and bloodied Sylvester Stallone shouts his girlfriend’s name repeatedly—“Adrian! Adriaaaan!”—until she climbs into the ring and they embrace. In the 1982 science fiction film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, an enraged Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner) shouts the name of his nemesis after Khan strands him on a deserted planet.
Round two … Fight!
“Round XX … Fight!” is what the announcer says before each round in the kickboxing video game series Mortal Kombat. The first game was developed by Midway Games in 1992 and has grown into a media franchise, with sequels and spinoff games, three motion pictures, music and soundtrack albums, two television series, an animated direct-to-video movie, and a stage play.
Triceratops wins. Finish him!
A Fatality is a move in Mortal Kombat (see previous note) in which the winner of the final round of a match can perform one last bloody indignity on their opponent (like, say, ripping out their spine or setting them on fire). The announcer prompts a Fatality by saying, very dramatically, “Finish him!” (or “Finish her!”).
And with a kiss, I die.
A line from William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet, written sometime between 1591 and 1595, when star-crossed lover Romeo drinks poison and declares: “O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.”
Coming up after The Land That Time Forgot, Adrienne Barbeau stars in Swamp Thing.
Adrienne Barbeau is an American actress best known for her role as the headstrong divorced daughter of Maude Findlay (played by Bea Arthur) in the ‘70s sitcom Maude, and for her roles in science fiction and horror films, including Swamp Thing (1982), which was based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Directed by Wes Craven, it was followed by The Return of Swamp Thing in 1989, this one starring Heather Locklear.
[Sung.] Why are there so many … songs about lands forgotten?
An imitation of beloved Muppet Kermit the Frog (who was primarily voiced by creator Jim Henson) singing “Rainbow Connection,” from the 1979 film The Muppet Movie. The tune opens the movie, with Kermit accompanying himself on banjo while singing in his home swamp. Actual lyrics: “Why are there so many/Songs about rainbows/And what’s on the other side.”
I don’t see how a Styracosaurus isn’t everyone’s favorite dinosaur. It’s like someone ordered a Triceratops with a side of spikes.
Styracosaurus was an herbivorous dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous Period, about 75 million years ago. Both Triceratops and Styracosaurus were ceratopsian dinosaurs: they had beaks, nasal horns, and the elaborate neck frill Triceratops is famous for. Styracosaurus decorated that frill with an assortment of spikes, in addition to the horn on its nose.
[Sung.] “Baby Elephant Walk.”
“Baby Elephant Walk” is an instrumental song written by Henry Mancini for the 1962 film Hatari! Known for its “goofy” upbeat sound, the tune became one of Mancini’s most famous compositions and won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement.
[Sung.] More “Baby Elephant Walk.”
See previous note.
Possibly riffing on the now-passé rap and hip-hop slang convention of adding “izzle” to the end of truncated words (such as “Fo’ shizzle, dizzle” instead of “For sure, dog”) popularized by rapper Snoop Dogg. Snoop’s 2002-2003 sketch comedy show on MTV was titled Doggy Fizzle Televizzle.
Yeah, and their feet will make amazing wastebaskets.
In the Victorian era, it was considered fashionable, rather than horrific, to use a taxidermied elephant’s foot as an umbrella stand.
Welcome to our performance of Waiting for Godot, starring Stabby as Estragon and me, Pointy, as Vladimir.
Waiting for Godot is a 1952 play by Samuel Beckett in which two vagrants, Estragon and Vladimir, pass the time waiting for an individual named Godot to show up. He never does. Beckett always refused to discuss the meaning of his play, saying, “If I had known more, I would have put it in the text.”
In the 1984 comedy movie Ghostbusters, musician Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver) is possessed by Zuul, a demigod minion of the final antagonist, Gozer the Destructor. Zuul is Gozer’s Gatekeeper, along with Keymaster Vinz Clortho, who possesses accountant Louis Tully (Rick Moranis). Zuul’s physical form is that of a “Terror Dog” or “Demon Dog,” which somewhat resembles a small dinosaur.
The Styracosaurus moves through the forest, unaware it is stalked by its natural predator, the World War I German U-boat captain, in a dance as old as time itself.
See above note on Styracosaurus. The delivery imitates the gravitas-laden narration of nature documentaries, specifically that of Sir David Attenborough in the BBC Planet Earth documentaries (see above note). In 2012, Attenborough appeared on The Graham Norton Show (BBC One, 2007-present) and narrated a home video of a turtle attempting to mate with a shoe, saying, “In a dance as old as time itself, it rears its head and emits the mighty mating call.”
[Sung.] I’ve got a golden ticket … I’ve got a golden ticket …
The 1971 musical fantasy movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on the 1964 Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, features songs by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, including “(I’ve Got a) Golden Ticket,” performed by Grandpa Joe (Jack Albertson) and Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum) in the film. Sample lyrics: “‘Cause I’ve got a golden ticket/I’ve got a golden ticket/I’ve got a golden chance to make my way/And with a golden ticket, it’s a golden day.”
Oh, yeah, we forgot to say … –It’s a living.
A running gag on the animated TV sitcom The Flintstones (ABC, 1960-1966) featured various prehistoric creatures serving as household appliances, such as record players or vacuum cleaners. The critters would often break the fourth wall and address the audience with a sardonic remark, such as, “It’s a living …”
Wax on, wax off.
In the 1984 coming-of-age/martial arts movie The Karate Kid, young Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) is mentored by the eccentric, retired karate master Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita). Daniel’s physical training regimen involves a lot of repetitive household chores, such as waxing Mr. Miyagi’s car, as his teacher chants “Wax on … wax off.” Later, Daniel discovers that those tasks have helped ingrain the movements he needs for karate into his muscle memory.
Thanks, I stand to inherit millions from him. He’s the heir to the Sinclair fortune.
Sinclair Oil Corporation is a company founded in 1916 by Harry Sinclair. Sinclair was huge throughout the middle part of the century, and their famous green “brontosaurus” logo appeared on gas stations everywhere. In 1969, though, petroleum company ARCO acquired Sinclair, and many of their gas stations began using the ARCO logo instead. You can still find Sinclair stations with the brontosaurus logo (dubbed “Dino”) in many states today.
Good thing we don’t mate for life. Back to Tinder.
The social search app Tinder was launched in 2012; it was originally developed by two USC students who had been friends since middle school. At first considered more of a hookup site, it has evolved into a mainstream dating app. Tinder allows users to select or reject photos of potential mates by swiping left or right on them; if two users both swipe right on each other’s profiles, they can begin messaging back and forth.
[Sung.] Still more “Baby Elephant Walk.”
See above note.
Donkey Kong! [Video game sounds.]
Donkey Kong is an early example of the “platform” video game genre, where players dodge and jump obstacles (in this case, rolling barrels) while progressing through a series of platforms. Released as an arcade game in 1981 by Nintendo, Donkey Kong introduced the character of Mario (originally called Mr. Video), who later went on to even bigger fame in the Mario game franchise.
Same with the Sleestaks.
See above note on Land of the Lost.
Oh, what am I doing here? That T. Rex is such a jerk. There was no party at the moon tower. He got me. I’m so embarrassed. This happens every time.
The 1993 cult film Dazed and Confused is set on the last day of school in 1976, including an impromptu “party at the moon tower.” The moon tower in question was an early version of a streetlight in Austin, Texas, known as a moonlight tower: a 150-foot-tall tower ringed with powerful carbon arc lights that was erected in 1894.
Ahm’s master’s voice.
“His Master’s Voice” was the nickname of the British record label The Gramophone Co. Ltd., founded in 1901. It was taken from the title of an iconic 1898 painting by Francis Barraud of his Jack Russell Terrier Nipper listening intently to a windup Edison-Bell cylinder phonograph. (The dog had previously belonged to Barraud’s late brother Mark, and the artist noticed Nipper was particularly interested in recordings Barraud had of Mark’s voice.) Barraud eventually painted 24 copies of the painting for various executives of the Gramophone Co. The image has also been used as a logo by RCA and as the basis for a music award statue.
Come on down to Caprona Craft Brewery. We only use the finest barley, hops, and rice for our Triceratops IPA and our Micropachycephalosaurus Stout. It’s brewed in the Land That Time Forgot, but you won’t forget having the time of your life.
A craft brewery, or microbrewery, is a small, independently owned brewery that produces limited quantities of beer and ale, as compared to large corporate breweries. Craft brewing really took off in the early 1980s after rollbacks of federal regulations in the United States. Barley, hops (the bitter flowers of the hop plant, Humulus lupulus), and rice are major ingredients in beer and ale. India Pale Ale (IPA) is an amber-colored, very hop-infused ale that is a popular varietal among craft brewers and drinkers, as is the very dark and rich stout. Micropachycephalosaurus (which means “small thick-headed lizard”) was a dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous, and that belonged to the same group of dinosaurs as Triceratops and Styracosaurus. Only a single specimen has been found, in China in 1978. Also see note on Triceratops, above.
It’s Oktoberfest at the Caprona Craft Brewery. It’s not really October, but we say that to get you in the mood for drinking.—Drink responsibly, and don’t come after us if you happen to kill somebody. Caprona Craft Brewery is owned by Caprona Craft Associates, New Ulm, Minnesota.
See above note on Oktoberfest, and previous note on craft brewing. New Ulm, Minnesota is home to the August Schell Brewing Company, the second-oldest family-owned brewery in the United States (the oldest is D.G. Yuengling & Son). They make various types of ales, lagers, etc. under the brand name Schell’s. They also hold an Oktoberfest every year.
The cameraman clearly suffers from social anxiety.
Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, causes sufferers to become irrationally distressed in everyday social situations, believing that they are being scrutinized and judged by other people. Particularly bad reactions can turn into full-blown panic attacks, and people with social anxiety often cope by self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs.
[Sung.] Tomorrow belongs to me …
A line from the song “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” from the musical Cabaret. It is sung by enthusiastic young Nazis celebrating the rise of the Third Reich. 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.”
Oh, look, it’s Crosby, Crosby, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash formed the folk-rock supergroup Crosby, Stills & Nash, or CSN, in 1968. All had been members of other successful groups: Crosby had been a member of The Byrds, Stills a member of Buffalo Springfield, and Nash a member of The Hollies. They were occasionally joined by Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young, making the group Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. All sported long hair and/or beards back in their groovy ‘60s heyday, and for the most part they still do, male pattern baldness notwithstanding.
[Sung.] I’ve been working on the railroad … I don’t know what that is …
The American folk song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” (authors(s) unknown) was first published in 1894 and first recorded in 1927 by the Sandhills Sixteen. The “Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah” verse, which is sung to a different melody, was adapted from an even older song that was first published in the 1830s or ‘40s.
[Sung.] No one knows what it’s like … To be a Bo-Lu … To be a Ga-Lu … Behind rubber nose …
Riffing on the 1971 song “Behind Blue Eyes,” by British rock band The Who. Sample lyrics: “No one knows what it’s like/To be the bad man/To be the sad man/Behind blue eyes.”
This Claritin-D makes me really sleepy.
Claritin-D is an over-the-counter cold and allergy medication, containing pseudoephedrine and loratadine. Its most commonly reported side effect is insomnia, not sleepiness—hence the “non-drowsy” placed prominently on the box.
Look straight, toes forward, chin up, move naturally, and when I reach the end of the runway, pause and lean on one hip with lots of attitude, go.
In the fashion industry, the “runway” is a long, raised platform that runs between seating areas in a fashion show, so that models can walk its length demonstrating clothes and accessories. It takes a certain amount of skill to be able to walk the narrow runway without colliding with other models, and the catlike stride of experienced runway models led to its other nickname: the “catwalk.”
You wanna get nuts? Come on, let’s get nuts!
A line from the 1989 movie Batman, starring Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman, spoken as Wayne attempts to provoke the Joker (played by Jack Nicholson) into a fight.
[Sung.] I’d like to stay … And taste my first champagne … –[Sung.] But first I’ll shoot some dinos in the brain …
A reference to the song “So Long, Farewell,” from the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, and its 1965 film adaptation. Sample lyrics: “So long, farewell, au revoir, auf wiedersehen/I’d like to stay and taste my first champagne/So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye/I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye.”
Hey, they walked into a John Denver album cover.
John Denver (b. Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.; 1943-1997) was a country-folk singer and environmentalist who had his biggest hits in the 1970s. The cover of his 1973 album Rocky Mountain High features a photo of Denver standing near a swift river and waterfall.
[Sung.] I’m leaving on a submarine … Don’t know when I’ll be back again …
Riffing on the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” written and originally recorded by John Denver (see previous note) in 1966; a version by Peter, Paul, and Mary became a number one hit in 1969. Sample lyrics: “Kiss me and smile for me/Tell me that you’ll wait for me/Hold me like you’ll never let me go/’Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane/Don’t know when I’ll be back again/Oh babe, I hate to go.”
You know, like when you find a curly fry in your order of regular fries, or when they only charge you for a medium Slurpee when you get a jumbo, or … ooh, there was this one time when I found a Band-Aid in my Big Mac, so they gave me two more Big Macs for free. Found Band-Aids in those, too. Guess what? Six more Big Macs.
Curly fries are french-fried potatoes that are cut into spiral shapes before frying. Slurpee is the name of convenience store 7-Eleven’s brand of flavored ice drinks, first sold in 1967. The Slurpee was not created by the chain; 7-Eleven licensed slushy drinks from the ICEE Company and just changed the name. Band-Aid is an adhesive bandage invented in 1920 and manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. The name has since become a brand eponym for all such adhesive bandages, though the company continues to defend its trademark. The Big Mac is the signature hamburger of the McDonald’s chain of fast food restaurants. Finding foreign objects in prepared foods has become the stuff of urban legend, with many examples of genuine horrors found in food, along with many other elaborate hoaxes intended to extort money from the restaurants.
Peter Gabriel is a British musician, songwriter, and producer who first became famous in the rock group Genesis and went on to an even more successful solo career. Gabriel has long been an advocate of world music—with all the drums and other percussion that implies. He co-founded the WOMAD (World of Music, Arts, and Dance) Festival in 1982 and founded the Real World Records label in 1989 to record, produce, and promote world music artists.
[Imitating Friday the 13th scary incidental sfx/music.]
The iconic score for the Friday the 13th movie franchise, composed by Harry Manfredini, contains the heavily reverbed spoken phrase “ki ki ki, ma ma ma” (a truncated reference to the line “Kill her mommy!”, which factors into the first film). The sound effect has become pop culture shorthand for “murder is imminent.”
Watch out for snakes.
An oft-repeated riff that was first heard, totally out of the blue and from an off-camera voice, in Show 506, Eegah! It became one of the most popular catchphrases of the original MST3K series, and the theme of the 2017 MST3K Live! Watch Out for Snakes! Tour.
Rob Zombie is Peter Dinklage in Grizzly Adams.
Rob Zombie (b. Robert Cummings) is a musician who had a successful career both as a solo artist and as the founder of metal group White Zombie. In later years he turned to film, directing several horror movies, including House of 1,000 Corpses (2000), and its 2005 sequel The Devil’s Rejects. Zombie sports a full beard. Peter Dinklage is an American actor with dwarfism (he stands 4 feet, 5 inches tall) who’s had a wide range of roles in films and TV series but is best known for his Emmy Award-winning portrayal of the bearded Tyrion Lannister in the HBO fantasy/drama series Game of Thrones (2011-2019). The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams was a 1975 movie starring Dan Haggerty as James “Grizzly” Adams, a man who lives alone in the mountains with his pet bear. It was based on the life of famed 19th-century California mountain man/animal trainer John Adams. The film was turned into a short-lived TV series, also starring Haggerty, in 1977; more TV movies and films followed. And yes, Haggerty also sported a full beard.
Who’s the doughy man who won’t cop out when there’s cavemen all about? –McClure! –Oh, yeah, McClure’s as tough as a three-day-old Wendy’s burger, which he would eat. –Doug McClure!
A reference to the theme song for the 1971 blaxploitation movie Shaft, written and performed by Isaac Hayes. The relevant verse: “Who’s the cat that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about? /Shaft!/Right on. They say this cat Shaft is a bad mother …/Shut your mouth!/I’m talkin’ about Shaft/Then we can dig it.” Wendy’s is a North American fast food hamburger franchise, founded in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio.
[Imitating.] Hey, I know that dude.
A line spoken by uber-surfer-stoner dude Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn) in the 1982 coming-of-age/comedy film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, directed by Amy Heckerling. Fun Fact: the movie was based on a book written by Cameron Crowe, who at age 22, thanks to his extremely youthful looks, was able to go undercover and attend his old high school for a year. The book Fast Times at Ridgemont High: A True Story, an account of his experiences during that year, came out in 1981. Crowe adapted his book into the screenplay for the film, and later directed such films as Jerry Maguire (1993) and Say Anything (1989).
[Imitating.] Please, Pee-wee! Play fetch with me, Pee-wee, please!
An imitation of Pterri, a puppet Pteranodon on the children’s television program Pee-wee’s Playhouse (CBS, 1986-1990), created by and starring Paul Reubens as Pee-wee Herman. Pterri was introduced on the 1981 HBO special The Pee-wee Herman Show and was voiced by John Paragon on the special and the series, except for Season 2, when Pterri was voiced by George McGrath.
[Imitating.] Please, Pee-wee, please.
See previous note.
Ah, you know, Spirit Air truly is the bottom of the barrel.
Spirit Airlines is an American air carrier founded in 1992 and based in Miami, Florida. In 2007, Spirit shifted to an ultra-low-airfare business model, making up for lost revenue with things like plastering their planes’ exteriors and interiors with advertising and charging fees for amenities that would normally be included with the price of a ticket. For example, in 2010 Spirit was the first airline to charge passengers a fee for carry-on bags. Since 2017, Spirit has had an excellent on-time performance and safety record.
So you’re Ahm? Okay, cool. So I’m taking you down to the convention center? All right. You need a bottle of water, phone charger?
This is a typical greeting one might hear when settling into a car driven by an Uber or Lyft driver. Uber and Lyft are ridesharing companies that offer car rides, food delivery, and other transportation services. Rides are booked via mobile apps, so Uber and Lyft drivers generally know your name and destination when they pick you up.
Good night, sweet caveman, and may pterodactyls scream thee to thy rest.
Riffing on a famous line from William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, written sometime between 1599 and 1601. As Hamlet’s friend Horatio holds the dead prince in his arms at the end of the play, he says, “Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
So I guess the next stage in Sto-Lu evolution is MMA enthusiast.
Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is a full-contact combat sport that combines elements of boxing, wrestling, and martial arts.
I say Fitzgerald’s later work fails to fulfill his early promise! –How dare you? The Crack-Up is a masterpiece of a confessional memoir!
F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was an American author known for his novels about the wealth and excess of the “Jazz Age” of the 1920s and ‘30s. Though popular and successful in his lifetime, widespread critical acclaim didn’t come until after his death: Fitzgerald is now considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. “The Crack-Up” was originally published in 1936 as a series of three essays in Esquire magazine and later collected together in a book published in 1945, along with other unpublished works and letters by Fitzgerald. The essays were about his physical and mental breakdowns in the 1930s and were very poorly received at the time; they are now considered forerunners of the confessional memoirs that become popular several decades later.
Oh, it’s okay, we’re just roughhousing. Huh? Huh? –Hi-keeba!
See above note.
Geez, you forget to offer a virgin sacrifice to the volcano one time.
The trope of throwing a virgin into a bubbling vat of magma appears to be an invention of Hollywood, as seen in films like Bird of Paradise (1932), in which Dolores del Rio hurls herself into the volcano to appease Pele. There seems to be no evidence of it occurring in real life, basically because volcanoes with stable magma lakes and convenient tossing points are in short supply. However, there is ample evidence that virgins have been sacrificed on volcanoes—witness the remains of murdered children found on the slopes of volcanoes in the Andes, sacrificed there by the Incas.
Oh, no, the Styrofoam reserves.
Styrofoam is a brand of plastic foam frequently used as a packing material and first made in 1941; it is manufactured by Dow Chemical. This might also be a callback to Show 1104, Avalanche, where Jonah and the bots suggested the movie was using Styrofoam to simulate snow.
But me thought paper beat rock.
Rock, Paper, Scissors is a popular children’s game in which each child forms one of three shapes with their hand: rock, paper, or scissors. Rock breaks scissors, scissors cuts paper, and paper covers rock. A similar game, shoushiling, was played in China around the third century B.C.E., where the choices were frog, slug, and snake.
I didn’t kill my wife! –I don’t care.
Lines from the 1993 movie The Fugitive. Unjustly convicted of murdering his wife, Dr. Richard Kimble (played by Harrison Ford) escapes and is pursued by the relentless U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones). While briefly face-to-face, they have the above exchange.
Oh, right into the Death Star trash compactor.
A famous scene in Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope (1977) has Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Princess Leia trapped inside an enormous, flooded trash compactor aboard the Death Star.
Writer/director George Romero’s 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead established the modern cinematic convention of zombies as slow-moving animated corpses that feast upon the flesh of living humans. The 1985 horror/comedy film The Return of the Living Dead, written and directed by Alien screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, introduced the concept of fast-moving zombies that are only interested in eating human brains.
Oh, he’s holding the first “Far Side” cartoon.
“The Far Side” is a single-panel comic created by Gary Larson that ran in nearly 2,000 newspapers at its peak. It was characterized by surreal humor, featuring anthropomorphized animals (often cows), heavyset women with horn-rimmed glasses and beehive hairdos, and other staples—including a recurring motif of cavemen and their cave drawings. The strip ran from 1980 to 1995.
Oh, that guy blowed up good!
Not an imitation, but a reference to a catchphrase from a recurring sketch on the comedy series Second City Television, also called SCTV, that ran on Canadian television and various American networks between 1976 and 1984. The “Farm Film Report” featured two plaid and coverall-wearing rednecks doing a Siskel & Ebert at the Movies type film review show, where the movies were rated according to whether things, or people, were “blowed up.” Celebrity actors (played by SCTV cast members) were interviewed and then detonated, leading to the catchphrase “He blowed up good … he blowed up real good!”
We were told it would be a comet! A comet!
The cosmic body that did in the dinosaurs actually appears to have been an asteroid roughly six miles wide. The impact crater—measuring 125 miles across—was discovered under the Gulf of Mexico in the 1990s, and, like other samples from the time of the dinosaurs’ extinction, is rich in a type of iridium rare on earth but very common in some types of asteroids.
[Sung.] Trying to run away … Into the night … And then you put your arms around me … And we [garbled] in the night, I say we oh …
Paraphrasing lyrics from the song “I Think We’re Alone Now,” written by Ritchie Cordell, that was a Top 10 hit for Tommy James and the Shondells in 1967. Sample lyrics: “Running just as fast as we can, holding on to one another’s hands/Trying to get away/Into the night/And then you put your arms around me/And we tumble to the ground and then you say …”
Fox Searchlight Pictures presents …
Searchlight Pictures, formerly known as Fox Searchlight Pictures, is an American film studio founded in 1994 and now a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios. Their logo has changed over the years, but it’s generally a variation on the bombastic 20th Century Fox logo, only with more emphasis on searchlights.
Grant Wood’s Land That Time For-Gothic.
American Gothic (1930) is a well-known painting by American artist Grant Wood (1892-1942). It depicts a farmer and his daughter (modeled after Wood’s dentist and sister, respectively) standing in front of their Midwestern home, the man holding a pitchfork. The painting has become an icon of hardscrabble Americana.
I’m taking this NCIS fan fiction to hell with me.
NCIS (which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service) is an American TV crime drama franchise dealing with criminal investigations in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. Currently broadcast on CBS, there are two main shows—NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. As of 2021, a third series had been ordered: NCIS: Hawai’i. Fan fiction is any sort of speculative writing that fans of a certain fictional universe (movie, TV show, book, comic, etc.) may write and share with other fans. Fan fiction generally falls into a gray area with regard to copyright, but most copyright holders ignore it, knowing that it is rarely published or produced. There are exceptions: Fifty Shades of Grey famously began as Twilight fan fiction.
The line “I’m Batman” is spoken both hesitantly and confidently, depending on the scene, by Michael Keaton in the title role of the 1989 movie Batman—one of many, many portrayals of the comic book superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939.
So we made a Lord of the Rings movie.
Director Peter Jackson’s ambitious series of films based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books have lots of sweepingly dramatic helicopter shots of spectacular New Zealand landscapes.
And Cruella de Vil and Jon Snow lived happily ever after.
Cruella de Vil is the black-and-white-haired, fashion-obsessed villain of the 1956 Dodie Smith novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians and the 1961 animated Disney adaptation One Hundred and One Dalmatians. (Since then Disney has mined the property with a 1996 live-action movie, a 2000 sequel, a 2003 direct-to-video animated sequel, and a 2021 live-action prequel, Cruella.) Jon Snow is a burly, bearded character in the George R.R. Martin books and their HBO adaptation Game of Thrones. In the show Snow was played by Kit Harington.
In care of Simon & Schuster, New York, New York.
Simon & Schuster is one of the world’s largest publishing houses, publishing more than 2,000 book titles annually under 35 different imprints. Founded in 1924 by Richard Simon and Max Lincoln Schuster, it is currently owned by ViacomCBS and based in New York City.
Wait! That was my thermos!
Thermos is a genericized trademark referring to a vacuum flask canister that protects the temperature (hot or cold) of the substance inside it. Invented in 1892 by Scottish physicist Sir James Dewar, the product was first sold in 1904 by German company Thermos GmbH. In 1963, a U.S. court ruled that the name “Thermos” was synonymous with these types of containers, essentially nullifying the trademark.
[Name in credits: Colin Farrell.] Oh, Colin Farrell’s in it.
British actor Colin Farrell, who played Whiteley, was born in 1938. He enjoyed a lengthy career in TV and such films as A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Gandhi (1982) years before Irish actor Colin Farrell (Minority Report , In Bruges ) ever got into show business. Colin Farrell 1.0 is still acting, although he now goes by Col Farrell.
I wonder if Steve James still gets recognized on the street after playing the first Sto-Lu?
American actor, stunt performer, and martial artist Steve James went on to appear in many well-known action and martial arts movies, such as The Delta Force (1986) and the American Ninja series, so … probably not.
[Credits: “The End”] Question mark?
Adding “Or Is It?” (or just a question mark) to the “The End” title card was briefly in vogue for low-budget sci-fi and horror films in the 1950s and ‘60s. Show 424, Manos: The Hands of Fate, and Show 808, The She-Creature, both used this trope.