519: Outlaw of Gor
by Sean Marten
[Title: “Cannon International Presents.”] William Conrad presents …
Actor William Conrad (1920-1994) had a career that spanned decades. In the 1950s, he was famous for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on the radio version of Gunsmoke; in the 1980s, he was known as the irascible prosecutor J.L. McCabe on the TV series Jake and the Fatman (1987-1992). But, most important for this riff, in the 1970s he played L.A. private eye Frank Cannon in the TV show Cannon (1971-1976).
John Norman’s Steakateria!
John Norman (real name John Fredrick Lange, Jr.) is a philosophy professor at Queens College of the City University of New York and an author best known for the Gor series of novels, one of which is the source of this fine experiment. As of 2013 there have been 33 Gor novels, starting with Tarnsman of Gor in 1966. Outlaw of Gor, by the way, came next, in 1967.
[Title: Outlaw.] With Jane Russell? Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please … –No, no, don’t get your hopes up. –I don’t think so.
Jane Russell (1921-2011) was one of Hollywood’s leading ladies in the 1940s and 1950s. The voluptuous brunette got her start in Howard Hughes’ The Outlaw (1943), a famous still from which showed Russell tumbled in a pile of hay, with her décolletage on abundant display. Her biggest success was starring opposite Marilyn Monroe in 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Oh, that’s Italian for Adrienne Barbeau.
Adrienne Barbeau is an American actress known for her role as the title character’s divorced daughter Carol Traynor on the TV sitcom Maude (1972-1978), and for her appearances in several 1980s horror movies, including The Fog and Swamp Thing. Her chest measurements have made her name a kind of pop culture shorthand for ample bosoms; she herself has poked fun at this image, writing in her autobiography of her time on television: “What I didn’t know is that when I said [my lines] … no one was even listening to me. They were just watching my breasts precede me.”
Hey, I have Donna Denton pajamas. –I think you mean Dr. Denton. –Oh, you’re right.
Dr. Denton is a famous brand of blanket sleepers, also known as “footie pajamas”—a one-piece, full-body, zippered garment made of a blanket-like material that is commonly worn by infants and toddlers for beddy-bye.
[Credit: Jack Palance.] I crap bigger than this movie.
In the wildly successful 1991 film comedy City Slickers, Jack Palance said to the (much shorter) Billy Crystal: “I crap bigger than you.” When Palance received his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for the role in 1992, from Oscar host Billy Crystal, Palance revised the line to: “Billy Crystal … I crap bigger than him.”
[Credit: Johan Van de Vyfer.] Oh, the great Amish director of photography.
The Amish are a conservative Christian sect found predominantly in North America; there is a large population of Amish in Pennsylvania. They are known for their plain, old-fashioned manner of dress, eschewing jewelry and other adornments, and their rejection of much modern technology, including electricity and cars.
[Credit: Based on the Novel Outlaw of Gor.] Ah yes, featured in The New York Times Book Review, I believe.
The New York Times Book Review is a weekly supplement to The New York Times newspaper, published since 1896. Covering both fiction and nonfiction, it is considered one of the most influential book reviews in the publishing industry. The Review also publishes the New York Times’ Best Seller List, which is widely circulated and highly influential.
[Sung.] Harry Alan Towers!
Show 323, The Castle of Fu Manchu, was also produced by Harry Alan Towers, and Servo also belts out a bombastic rendering of the man’s name in that episode.
Joseph William Namath is a former football quarterback who played for the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams. In a famously successful 1974 television ad for Hanes Beautymist pantyhose, the camera panned up a pair of smooth, nylon-clad legs that turned out to belong to a reclining Joe Namath, who then said: “Now, I don’t wear pantyhose, but if Beautymist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for yours.”
Oh, he’s wearin' one of them Fred Flintstone ties.
Fred Flintstone was the central character of The Flintstones, an animated TV show that aired from 1960 to 1966 and was the longest-running primetime animated series until it was surpassed decades later by The Simpsons. Set in the Stone Age and loosely based on The Honeymooners, the initial series was followed by a theatrical film, several follow-up series and TV movies, and two live-action films, including the 1994 version starring John Goodman. Fred generally wore a tattered orange and black spotted tunic with a wide, electric-blue necktie.
Wayne Gretzky! The Great One!
Called “the greatest hockey player ever”—or simply “The Great One”—by many sportswriters, Wayne Douglas Gretzky played 20 seasons for four teams in the NHL between 1979 and 1999.
It’s Doc Savage.
Doc Savage is a fictional bronze-haired, bronze-skinned, rock-muscled action-adventure hero. Originally published in pulp magazines in the 1930s and ‘40s in stories written by Lester Dent, he later blazed his way through radio, film, comic books, and many reprints of the original stories in paperback book form. Dent referred to his wildly popular character as “sellable crap,” but Doc made him a rich man during the height of the Depression.
I don't have a Crespi shirt.
The extra on the left is wearing a Crespi shirt, which is short for Crespi Carmelite High School, a private Catholic high school in Encino, California. Named for Friar Juan Crespi, it was founded in 1959 by the Carmelite religious order. (Thanks to Jason Harder for this reference.)
It’s Commissioner Gordon calling.
Commissioner James Gordon is Batman’s contact in the Gotham Police Department, the man in charge of flashing the Bat Signal in the Batman comic books, TV shows, and films. On the ‘60s TV show he had a special flashing red phone to communicate with Batman. His daughter, Barbara Gordon, is also known as Batgirl.
Later, in Miller’s Crossing.
Miller’s Crossing is a 1990 film by the Coen Brothers, a black comedy about a war between rival gangsters during Prohibition. It stars Gabriel Byrne and Albert Finney.
Two months’ salary? Ahhh …
In the 1930s the De Beers diamond empire launched a marketing campaign suggesting that a man should spend the equivalent of one month’s salary on an engagement ring (they later upgraded the amount to two months’ salary). Their famous slogan appeared in countless TV and print ads during the 1990s: “How else can two months’ salary last forever?” However, they met with considerable consumer resistance to the notion, along with a barrage of bad publicity related to their sale of “blood diamonds,” and they have largely dropped the tag line, returning to their more successful “Diamonds are forever.”
Honey, I shrunk the Nelson.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids is a 1989 family comedy film starring Rick Moranis as a bumbling inventor whose homemade shrink ray accidentally reduces his three children to less than an inch tall. Hijinks ensue. Matthew and Gunnar Nelson are the twin sons of the late singer and actor Ricky Nelson (1940-1985) who make up the core of the rock band Nelson, which achieved fame in the early 1990s with pop hits such as “(Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection.” They had very long blond hair.
That’s where Buddy Hackett and Jack Carter got their start.
Buddy Hackett (1924-2003) was a nightclub comedian and actor who had a huge show in Las Vegas for many years, where he was one of its most successful entertainers. He was known for his vaguely off-color comedy routines. Jack Carter is also an American comedian and actor, a veteran of television’s Golden Age. Hackett got his start performing in the Borscht Belt, a region of the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York that was home to many summer resorts popular with New York City Jewish families from the 1920s through the 1970s; many, many famous 20th-century comedians began their careers there. However, Carter did not; he toured nightclubs around the country and then went to TV, hosting the Cavalcade of Stars variety show.
No more gin fizzes for me.
A gin fizz is an alcoholic cocktail consisting of gin, lemon juice, sugar, and carbonated water, served in a highball glass with ice. Lemon-lime soda can also be used in place of the water.
“You know how to party, huh?” You just put your lips together and drink.
A variation on a classic line from the 1944 film To Have and Have Not: Lauren Bacall says to Humphrey Bogart, “You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.” In 2005 the line ranked at #34 in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Top Movie Quotations in American Cinema, right between “I’ll have what she’s having” from When Harry Met Sally and “You’re gonna need a bigger boat” from Jaws.
The Pullman is located in the Russian Parliament.
The Federal Assembly is the legislature of Russia. Like the U.S. Congress, it has two houses, the State Duma and the Federation Council, which meet in separate buildings, both located in Moscow.
I worry about a superhero named Kevin who drives a Camaro.
Chevrolet’s answer to the Ford Mustang, the Camaro is a sporty two-door coupe or convertible automobile manufactured by General Motors and introduced in 1966. Camaros are often thought of as the quintessential muscle car, although they are generally classified as a pony car. Successfully marketed to working-class males, Camaros have gained an iconic reputation as the ride of choice for blue-collar men and the women who love them. Production ended in 2002 and was revived in 2009. (The car in the movie is actually a Pontiac Firebird, which was produced from 1967 to 2002, and was nearly identical to its GM cousin the Camaro. [Thanks to Bigtexatx11 for the Firebird reference.])
I bought it off Pete Rose.
Peter Edward “Pete” Rose played major league baseball from 1963 to 1986, for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, and Montreal Expos, and managed the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1989. He won three World Series championships and an MVP in 1975. In 1989, Rose was permanently banned from baseball when it was learned he bet on games while he played for the Cincinnati Reds, and while he was their manager—including accusations that he bet against his own team.
Hey, can we listen to Z-Rock?
Z-Rock was a Dallas, Texas-based nationally syndicated radio network that delivered hard rock and heavy metal music to the masses from the mid-1980s through the mid-1990s. A harbinger of the corporate and satellite radio that has effectively killed live and local radio across the United States, Z-Rock died its own death on December 31, 1996.
Hey, your Playboy air-freshener thing dropped on the floor.
Playboy is a “men’s magazine” that celebrates the aspects of a “playboy” lifestyle: cocktails, gadgets, cars, and women with large breasts. The magazine also publishes some of the most respected fiction and journalism in the country. The Playboy bunny logo, along with pine trees, smiley faces, and many other images, is printed on scented cardboard air fresheners destined for the rear view mirrors of cars. Camaros, for example. The air fresheners were first marketed in the 1950s but did not become widely popular until the ‘70s.
I hope he puts in his 8-track of Aqualung.
Officially known as Stereo 8, 8-track tapes were cassettes of magnetic tape in an infinite loop. They were developed in the early 1960s by Bill Lear (of Lear Jet fame) and released in 1964. They caught on because, until then, the only means of owning music were vinyl records or cumbersome reel-to-reels, and neither of those were terribly portable. They were popular until the mid-1970s, when standard compact cassettes replaced them as the desired form of totable audio entertainment. Complaints included low audio quality, the inability to rewind, the inability to choose a specific song to go to, and songs switching in the middle of play to a different track. On the other hand, 8-tracks were the first portable and durable user-controlled format for recorded music in cars. Aqualung is a 1971 album by Jethro Tull, as well as the title of a song on the same album about a homeless, pedophilic, and dirty old man.
Once I get up to 90 it’ll stop. –When time traveling, always wear your seatbelt.
References to the 1985 movie Back to the Future, and its sequels, which involve a DeLorean sports car converted into a time machine. In order to time travel, the DeLorean/time machine hybrid has to reach a speed of 88 miles per hour, generating flashes of lightning along the way. (Thanks to georginasiddle for this reference.)
Think there’s any chance Barney Rubble there could go through the windshield?
Barney Rubble was Fred Flintstone’s best buddy on the animated TV series The Flintstones (see above note). Voiced by Mel Blanc, Barney was based on the character of Ed Norton (played by Art Carney) from The Honeymooners. In the 1994 live action film version of The Flintstones, Barney was played by the very Watney-esque looking Rick Moranis.
Oh, they’re in Ishtar.
Ishtar is a notorious Hollywood flop, a 1987 road movie about two lounge singers (played by Dustin Hoffman and Warren Beatty) who get mixed up in a CIA plot in Morocco. There is a lengthy sequence in which the pair get lost in the desert. Although it got decent reviews, the film bombed—it cost around $51 million to make and only took in $14 million at the box office.
Toto, I have a feeling this isn’t the Red Onion.
A spin on Judy Garland’s famous line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The line was ranked at #4 in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 Top Movie Quotations in American Cinema. The Red Onion is a famous restaurant in Aspen, Colorado. Established as a saloon in 1892, it is the oldest operating restaurant in that city and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Hey, the Pietà.
The Pietà is a 1499 sculpture by Michelangelo, one of the greatest statues of the Renaissance. Carved from a single block of white Carrara marble, the statue depicts the Virgin Mary holding the body of her son on her lap after his crucifixion. It is housed in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
We have wormsign.
In the 1965 science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert and the sequels that followed, sandworms are giant creatures that dwell and move beneath the sands of the desert planet Arrakis. Vibrations or bulges in the sand that indicate the approach of a sandworm are known as wormsign.
“I can’t believe it.” The things I can do with my Spirograph.
Spirograph is a drawing toy first sold by Kenner in 1966, consisting of plastic disks with holes in them, which could be used to draw interesting spiral designs. The advertising jingle for Spirograph in the 1970s was: “I don’t believe it/I just don’t believe it/The things I can do with my Spirograph.”
Hey, Cabot! I’m a bad boy.
(Bud) Abbott and (Lou) Costello were a comedy team from the mid-1930s through the 1950s. They got their start in vaudeville and soon made the leap to radio, TV, and film. They were known for snappy routines like their world-famous “Who’s on First?” Costello’s character was a frequently hysterical man-child who relied on the long-suffering and level-headed Abbott for guidance to get out of trouble. “Hey, Abbott!” was a common exclamation for Costello, and when he’d made a mess of things, he’d quietly say, “I’m a bad boy.”
“Keep on Truckin’” is a one-page black-and-white comic by R. (Robert) Crumb, first published in the 1968 premiere issue of Zap Comix. The comic, drawn in Crumb’s distinctive pen and ink style, portrays men in an assortment of urban settings, striding with confidence in very large shoes, beneath the text of lyrics from the Blind Boy Fuller song “Truckin’ My Blues Away.” Images from the comic became iconic symbols of defiance and optimism for the hippie counterculture and were frequently reproduced without permission, much to Crumb’s chagrin, who never wanted to “turn into a greeting card artist for the counterculture.”
Shh. He’s conducting a “Flight of the Bumblebee.”
“Flight of the Bumblebee” is an orchestral piece composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1900. It is part of a longer composition, the opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan, but it has become much better known than its parent work. It was used as the theme music for the radio and TV show The Green Hornet, and has made many other appearances in pop culture, from Spike Jones to Quentin Tarantino. The piece is notable for its speed and complexity; American musician John Taylor set a world record for fastest guitar player in 2011 by playing “Flight of the Bumblebee” at 600 beats per minute, beating the previous record set in 2008 at 320 bpm.
“Close to where?” The Perkins on 494.
Perkins Restaurant and Bakery is an American casual dining restaurant chain offering breakfast any time and selling fresh baked pastries; it was founded in 1958. Many locations closed abruptly in 2011 when the company filed for bankruptcy, and the company has continued to experience financial difficulties. I-494 is part of the beltway loop that circles the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, cutting through the southern and western part of the cities.
Sand Nazis. I hate these guys.
A reference to a line in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “Nazis. I hate these guys.”
Wouldn’t it be great if you were stuck in another dimension with an annoying guy and he brought beer?
In the early 1990s, Keystone beer ran a series of commercials along the theme of “Wouldn’t it be great if …” followed by an extended fantasy riff, and ending with, “and they served beer? Really great beer, like Keystone and Keystone Light—bottled beer taste in a can.”
[Mister Ed imitation.] I’m doing my best here, it’s all this sand, there we go.
Mister Ed was a TV sitcom about a talking horse that ran from 1961 to 1966, and has enjoyed a robust afterlife on cable and streaming services. The distinctive voice of Mister Ed (played by a palomino named Bamboo Harvester) was provided by former Western star Allan Lane, who went uncredited throughout the series.
Yes, it’s T.E. Lawrence night at the Pullman.
Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935) was a British scholar-soldier who became the leader of a group of Arab guerrillas that harassed the Turks during World War I. His remarkable exploits and his lively writing about his experiences in the Middle East earned him the nickname “Lawrence of Arabia,” the title of the award-winning 1962 film about his life.
I’m confident, dry, and secure!
A reference to ads for Sure deodorant that ran during the 1980s.
They’re wearing dance belts!
Dance belts aren’t actually belts. They’re support garments for the genitals.
In Episode Seven of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in the “Science Fiction Sketch,” Earth is invaded by gigantic, intelligent, tennis-playing blancmanges from the planet Skyron who are plotting to win Wimbledon. (A blancmange is similar to vanilla pudding and is a common dessert in the U.K.)
And I’m out of Pine-Sol.
Pine-Sol is a line of household cleaning products made by Clorox. The original formulation contains pine oil (hence the name), although some versions, such as lemon-scented Pine-Sol, omit the oil.
Hmmm, what do you know? He crapped bigger than me.
See above note on City Slickers.
Yes, but is it art?
“Yes … But Is It Art?” is an infamous segment that ran on the CBS TV news show 60 Minutes in September 1993. The story, by Morley Safer, harshly criticized the artists, art critics, and dealers who produce, promote, and sell modern art; Safer accused them of peddling “worthless junk” given value only by their relentless hype. The piece caused a huge furor in the art world; the head of New York’s famed Pace Gallery responded by sending a letter (which was read on the air) saying that the piece “stank of anti-intellectualism.”
Hey, Buffy and Jody.
Buffy and Jody were two of the children on the TV sitcom Family Affair, which aired from 1966 to 1971. (The third child, a teenage girl, was named Cissy.) The show starred Brian Keith as Bill Davis, a carefree, swinging bachelor who suddenly found himself raising two nieces and a nephew whose parents had died tragically in a car crash (part of that era’s TV sitcom great parental massacre: see also The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, My Three Sons, The Andy Griffith Show, and The Brady Bunch). Uncle Bill reluctantly cared for the children with the assistance of Mr. French, his proper and emotionally detached valet.
We come over here to the Jericho once a year for the sale. –Oh yeah, it’s nice.
Believed to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Jericho is a city near the banks of the Jordan River in the West Bank. Fresh water springs in and near Jericho have lured settlers for more than 11,000 years; the Old Testament called it the “City of Palm Trees,” and Judeo-Christian tradition holds it as the place of the Israelites’ return from bondage in Egypt.
It’s Iowa! –Oh, for cryin' out loud!
Iowa is a midsized state in the American Midwest. They grow a lot of corn and raise a lot of pigs. State nickname: “Gateway to Nebraska.” Just kidding—it’s “The Hawkeye State.”
They’re staying at a Red Roof Inn.
Red Roof Inn is a chain of more than 340 economy hotels, located mostly in the American Midwest, South, and East. It was founded in Columbus, Ohio, in 1972.
He’s got Jennifer Beals’ shirt on.
Jennifer Beals starred in the 1983 movie Flashdance, playing a steelworker with dreams of becoming a dancer. In one scene, Beals appeared in an oversized sweatshirt with the collar cut off so that it would slip off one shoulder (she also wore the shirt in posters for the film); it created a brief but widespread fashion fad and a lot of mutilated sweatshirts.
[Sung.] Strut, pout, put it out. What you want from women …
“Strut” was a Top 10 Grammy-nominated single for singer Sheena Easton in 1984. Sample lyrics: “Strut, pout, put it out, that’s what you want from women/Come on baby, what you takin’ me for?/Strut, pout, cut it out, all takin’ and no givin’/Watch me baby while I walk out the door.”
They’re being welcomed by the cast of Fame.
Fame is a 1980 musical film about the lives and loves of a plucky group of students attending the New York High School of Performing Arts. In addition to parodies, the film launched a 1982 TV series and a 1997 spinoff (Fame L.A.), a 1988 stage musical, a 2003 American Idol-style reality series, and a 2009 remake.
“What’s the fuss?” Tell me what’s a-happenin’.
In the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, the song “What’s the Buzz?” begins with, and often repeats, the line “What’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening.”
It’s time for the Brutal Gourmet.
The Frugal Gourmet was a popular television cooking show that aired on PBS from 1983 to 1997. It was hosted by best-selling cookbook author Jeff Smith (1939-2004).
Ah, Good Seasons and me.
Good Seasons is a line of salad dressing mixes made by Kraft Foods.
Kathie Lee had her baby.
Kathie Lee Gifford is a TV show host best known for her lengthy run on Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee, which she co-hosted from 1985-2000. Throughout the 1990s, millions of morning-TV viewers were treated to detailed descriptions of her pregnancies and home life with her sportscaster husband Frank Gifford and their two children: Cody Newton (b. 1990) and Cassidy Erin (b. 1993).
The Sullivan audition isn’t until tomorrow.
The Ed Sullivan Show aired from 1948 to 1971 (though it was titled Toast of the Town until 1955) on CBS, broadcasting for most of its run from CBS Studio 50 in New York City, which was renamed the Ed Sullivan Theater in 1968; the theater was later the home of the Late Show with David Letterman. It was a variety show hosted by entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan (1901-1974).
Mike is singing a snippet of the 1930 Broadway show tune “Fine and Dandy.” The song is associated with comedian Art Metrano, who would sing the tune endlessly while performing deliberately lame “magic tricks.” By the way, Metrano’s movie acting debut was Rocket Attack U.S.A., which became Show 205.
A reference to Renaissance Faires and a callback to Episode 303, Pod People. “Huzzah” is an olde English exclamation, similar to “hurray,” that has been around since Shakespeare’s time.
“Tall.” [Sung.] Opening notes to “Aqualung.”
See above note on Aqualung. The title song on the 1971 album begins with an iconic six-note power guitar riff.
Morty Gunty's up first.
Morty Gunty (1929-1984) was a comedian who appeared on many television shows in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, and even had roles in several feature films, including Broadway Danny Rose, in which he played himself.
Yea, for truly this is the land of Dairy Queen.
An old advertising jingle for the chain of restaurants was: “In the land of Dairy Queen, we treat you right!” Commercials for the chain in the 1970s featured close-ups of sundae toppings as though they were mountains and rivers of hot fudge sauce.
Cause I can see your Dilly Bar.
A Dilly Bar is a disc of soft-serve ice cream coated in chocolate and served on a stick. It was first offered in 1955 and is still sold in Dairy Queens everywhere.
For some reason they’re really into Pictionary here.
Pictionary is a board game created by Robert Angel in which teams of players try to guess words based on quick sketches made by their teammates. It was published by Seattle Games in 1985 and was acquired by Hasbro in 1994. There have been two television versions of the game: a children’s version in 1989, and a celebrity version in 1997.
“This is the life.” For you maybe, not for the women.
The retrograde sexism of the Gor novels is widely known; basically women are seen as mere possessions of men, to be owned, chained, and raped at will—and they love it.
It’s Dance Party USA.
Dance Party USA is a television dance show that aired from 1986 to 1992 on the USA Network.
Hey, great floors.
An imitation of actor Henry Fonda in a series of ads in the 1970s for GAF Corporation’s flooring. Fonda also appeared in ads for other GAF products, such as View-Master (along with a young Jodie Foster) in the 1960s and ‘70s.
Lookit, they’re all built like whippets. –Whip it good.
Whippet is a medium-sized breed of dog, descended from greyhounds. They are very skinny. Also a reference to the 1980 hit single “Whip It” by Devo. Sample lyrics: “Move ahead/Try to detect it/It’s not too late /To whip it/Well, whip it good.”
You know, liturgical dance is really weird.
Liturgical dance is dance as a form of worship during a religious ceremony. (Thanks to Sean Schmitt for this reference.)
Thank God for the pump.
A possible reference to the various types of vacuum pump devices that can be used to treat erectile dysfunction in men, as famously featured in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Some men have been known to use pumps in an attempt to increase the length or girth of their members, but there is no scientific evidence that this works, and excessive use of the pump carries significant risks.
You know, I think this is where Deney Terrio makes his entrance.
Deney Terrio (real name Denis George Mahan) is an American choreographer and dancer, a former actor, and host of the TV series Dance Fever from 1979 to 1985. He won fame as the man who taught John Travolta his famous disco moves for the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever.
Melanie Griffith! Wow.
Melanie Griffith is an American actress best known for her Golden Globe-winning performance in the 1988 film Working Girl. A child of Hollywood (she’s the daughter of actress Tippi Hedren), she has had a tempestuous life, filled with celebrity marriages and divorces (including two with actor Don Johnson and one to Antonio Banderas) and stints in rehab for cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers.
So this is Bishop’s Buffeteria.
Bishop’s Buffet was a chain of cafeteria-style restaurants in the Midwest. The first opened in 1920 in Waterloo, Iowa, and at one time there were 38 locations, but the last surviving Bishop’s, in Moline, closed in 2012.
Hey, it’s Jeanine from Spinal Tap.
In the iconic 1984 “mockumentary” comedy film This Is Spinal Tap, about a hapless heavy metal band, the lead guitarist’s girlfriend Jeanine, all teased blond hair and spandex, joins the band on the road and upsets their dynamic to no end, in an obvious parallel to the “Yoko destroyed the Beatles” legend.
You have to stop the insanity.
Susan Powter was an infomercial queen back in the early 1990s, a workout guru whose motto was “Stop the Insanity!” She had several books on the best-seller list and even hosted her own talk show for a year.
Look at my split-top butter-top hat.
Television ads for Home Pride Butter Top Bread proclaimed: “We split the top and pour in real creamery butter, just before baking …” The Home Pride brand is currently owned by Flowers Foods, which also makes Wonder Bread.
“Our honored guest has no drink.” [Imitating Jackie Gleason.] He-heew!
An impression of Jackie Gleason’s character Reginald Van Gleason III, from The Jackie Gleason Show. He would take a swallow of a drink and exclaim in the character’s reedy voice, “Mmm, that’s good booze!”
And now I’ll coronate the Dingaling Sisters!
The Golddiggers were a troupe of about a dozen singing and dancing young women who performed in the style of Las Vegas showgirls; they got their start on The Dean Martin Show (1965-1974). Starting in 1968 they got their own summertime TV show, Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers, and in 1971 a syndicated show called Chevrolet Presents the Golddiggers. Four Golddiggers formed a smaller group called The Dingaling Sisters, who also performed on The Dean Martin Show.
It’s an ‘83 Pat Paulsen.
Pat Paulsen (1927-1997) was a comedian who initially became famous for his appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, but he is best remembered for his tongue-in-cheek efforts to win the presidency of the United States. He ran six times between 1968 and 1996, always for comic effect rather than out of actual political ambition, and never garnered more than a few thousand votes.
Oh, I love the way Edgar Winter opens his show.
Edgar Winter is an albino blues/jazz/experimental musician. He has frequently performed with his older brother, musician Johnny Winter. His best-known song is “Frankenstein,” which hit number one in 1973.
Don’t crush that dwarf, hand me those pliers.
Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers is the third album by surrealistic comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre. Released in 1970, it was named “the greatest comedy album ever made” in the 1983 New Rolling Stone Record Guide.
“Miss me?” Now you have to kiss me.
“Missed me, missed me, now you gotta kiss me” is a durable schoolyard taunt that has been passed down through many generations, along with “liar, liar, pants on fire” and “cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater.”
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
An oft-quoted lyric from the 1971 song “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who—a classic rock radio standard and a concert warhorse for the band.
That’s a Jiffy Top … hat.
Jiffy Pop popcorn comes in an aluminum pan with a spiral foil lid. As the pan is heated over the stove, the kernels pop and expand the lid into a bulbous container. It was developed by Fred Mennen in 1958 and is currently manufactured by ConAgra Foods.
[Mike pushes Cabot’s nipple.] Ding-dong.
A throwback to Show 301, Cave Dwellers.
Marlenus … Dietrichus?
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was a German-born actress who first made it big playing a cabaret singer in Josef von Sternberg’s Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel). She then came to Hollywood, where her initial successes working with Sternberg were followed by a string of flops with other directors. She made a comeback playing saloon girl Frenchy in the Jimmy Stewart western Destry Rides Again (1939) and appeared in movies regularly through the 1940s and ‘50s.
$200 a day, plus expenses, naturally.
On the TV show The Rockford Files, which starred James Garner as affable private eye Jim Rockford, the titular detective famously offered his services for “$200 a day, plus expenses.”
A reference to the lovely and haunting theme song, performed by Hoyt Axton, from Show 512, Mitchell, sung when Mitchell is in bed with hooker/girlfriend Linda Evans.
Let’s watch Letterman.
David Letterman was a late-night talk show host known for his offbeat sense of humor. He hosted Late Night with David Letterman on NBC from 1982 to 1993, then moved to CBS to helm The Late Show with David Letterman until he retired in 2015.
First we baste him in real creamery butter.
On The Simpsons episode “Bart’s Friend Falls in Love,” an ad for the Good Morning Burger promises sensuously, “We take 18 ounces of sizzling ground beef, and soak it in rich creamery butter.”
[Character claps twice.] [Sung.] Deep in the heart of Texas.
“Deep in the Heart of Texas” is a 1941 song written by June Hershey and Don Swander, with popular recordings made over the years by Perry Como, Gene Autry, and Bing Crosby, among others. The song is performed with four distinct claps before the title phrase is sung.
Help me choose my trousseau.
The clothes and linens etc. that a bride collects for her wedding and married life are known as her trousseau. (Thanks to Ankaa Black for this reference.)
I’m starting early today, a little something I call a Ramos fizz, I think you’ll like it.
A member of the gin fizz family of cocktails (see above note), a Ramos fizz—also known as a New Orleans fizz—also contains orange flower water and egg whites, giving it a distinct flavor and texture. During the carnival of 1915, one bar in New Orleans had 32 bartenders working at once, mixing nothing but Ramos fizzes.
It’s the Windex that really … spices it up.
Windex is a brand of glass and hard surface cleaner. Manufactured since 1933, the brand was acquired by S.C. Johnson in 1993.
Dearly beloved ….
The 1984 Prince song “Let’s Go Crazy” begins with a church organ-like chord (similar to the background in this scene) and Prince saying “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life…” (Thanks to AJ Sacher for this reference.)
TGI Fridays is a nationwide chain of restaurants that serves such things as potato skins, burgers, steaks, pasta, and mammoth desserts and is known for its “antique clutter” decorating scheme. Mike Nelson was a waiter there when he first began writing for MST3K, a day job that he kept for a while.
Here you go, Socrates.
Socrates (c. 469-399 B.C.E.) was a Greek philosopher who is considered one of the founders of Western philosophy. According to his student, Plato, Socrates’ habit of questioning and annoying the leading citizens of Athens eventually led to his trial on charges of corrupting the morals of the city’s youth; he was found guilty and sentenced to die by drinking a poison made from hemlock.
“To us.” L’chaim.
“L’chaim” is a Jewish toast that means “to life” in Hebrew. A young Jewish couple’s engagement celebration is also called a l’chaim.
[Sung.] Sheer Energy.
This is from an old advertising jingle for Sheer Energy pantyhose.
You spilled on the great floor.
See note on Great Floors, above.
“Good luck.” Nell.
An imitation of Dudley Do-Right, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who was constantly battling his arch-nemesis, Snidely Whiplash. His damsel-in-distress in most episodes was Nell Fenwick. He made his first regular animated appearances in 1961 as part of The Bullwinkle Show, and eventually got a show of his own. Nell was in love with Dudley’s horse (named Horse), not Dudley.
“Thank you, my friend.” For the show that never ends.
“Karn Evil 9” is a nearly half-hour song by British progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, from their 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery. The song’s most recognizable portion is “First Impression, Part 2,” and its opening lyrics: “Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends/We’re so glad you could attend/Come inside, come inside.”
[Imitating Woody Allen.] So, would this be a bad time to ask if I could marry your daughter?
Woody Allen is a nebbishy comedian/actor/writer/director whose most famous films include Annie Hall (1978), Manhattan (1980), and Broadway Danny Rose (1985). In 1992 he was caught up in a scandal revolving around his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the 20-year-old adopted daughter of his long-term lover Mia Farrow; Allen and Previn married in 1997.
He always has a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. Baby.
The musical number “The Phony King of England” in the 1973 Disney animated feature Robin Hood contains the lyrics “And he throws an angry tantrum if he cannot have his way …”
I’m gonna kill me a mountain man.
A paraphrased line from the 1993 Sylvester Stallone film Cliffhanger, from the scene in which the evil henchman Kynette (Leon) is menacing Stallone in a cave: “Time to kill a mountain man.”
Wow, look at Jack run.
The phrasing is reminiscent of the old Dick and Jane readers published by Scott Foresman, which contained repetitive phrases such as “See Spot run. Run, Spot, run.” The books were published from the 1930s to the 1960s and served as the primary reading texts for several generations of schoolchildren.
Soitainly! Whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop ... –Why, you …
A mixed bag of standard lines from the comedy shorts and films of The Three Stooges.
Oh, no. They’re gonna hot roller her to death.
Hot rollers are a hair styling device that involves hair curlers being heated individually, and retaining the heat while styling hair.
[Sung.] When there’s no getting over that rainbow …
“I Won’t Last a Day Without You” is a song written by the diminutive, blond Paul Williams and Roger Nichols, first released in 1973 by Williams (who Crow is imitating here) and covered later that year by Maureen McGovern with little success. In 1974, it became a hit single for the Carpenters. It has also been covered by Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Andy Williams, and Mel Torme. Sample lyrics: “When there’s no getting over that rainbow/When my smallest of dreams won’t come true/I can take all the madness the world has to give/But I won’t last a day without you.”
“Put your weapons down!” I didn’t say Simon Says.
Simon Says is an old kids’ game in which the “Simon” tells the other children to do things—hop on one foot, touch their nose—prefacing each command with the words “Simon says.” If the Simon omits those words when giving an order, anyone who performs the requested action is “out.” The earliest known version dates back to the Roman Empire and was called “Cicero dicit fac hoc,” meaning, “Cicero says do this.” The name “Simon” likely entered into it after some court intrigue in the 1260s, when King Henry III of England was captured by the Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort, who for a year was the de facto ruler of England; in other words, for a time everyone in England had to do what Simon said.
Oh, no. They’re on the Moon Zero Two set. –I thought so.
A reference to Show 111, Moon Zero Two, a 1968 science-fiction film that was billed as the first “moon western.”
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!
Did you catch Acapulco H.E.A.T. last night?
Acapulco H.E.A.T. was a syndicated television series that aired from 1993 to 1996. The show followed a group of terrorism-fighting secret agents based in Acapulco, Mexico, who avoid attracting attention by posing as smoking-hot models and photographers. It starred Catherine Oxenberg, Brendan Kelly, and Fabio’s chest. “H.E.A.T.” stands for Hemisphere Emergency Action Team.
They could use some roomy button-fly Levi’s.
Though zippers began replacing buttons on the flies of trousers and jeans in the 1930s, Levi’s 501s continue to offer button-fly jeans to this day; they became trendy from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s.
“Your Highness, the Hunter.” Oooh, Fred Dryer.
John Frederick “Fred” Dryer is a former NFL football star who played for the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams from 1969 to 1981. After retiring from football, he went on to a modestly successful acting career, most famously as the lead in the police drama television series Hunter, which aired on NBC from 1984 to 1991.
“I’m not dead yet.” I’m feeling better.
A line from a famous scene in the 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which a protesting elderly relative tries to stop John Cleese from dumping him on the plague cart.
“How shall we dispose of the pathetic Talena?” Take her door off, put her in the alley?
Probably a riff on the Amana brand of refrigerators. Amana appliances were originally manufactured by a corporation owned by the Amana Society, a communal religious colony similar to the Amish and founded in Iowa in 1854. The Amana Colony were known for manufacturing everything they needed to support themselves for eighty years, and the refrigeration business was part of the financial support for the colony. Amana made freezers, refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, and more. Today the brand is owned by Whirlpool, and the Amana Colony is largely a tourist attraction. The purpose behind taking off the door of a refrigerator before leaving it out for trash pickup is to prevent pets or children from getting trapped inside.
“The leather woman.” Pinky Tuscadero?
Pinky Tuscadero was a minor character on the TV series Happy Days, which ran from 1974 to 1984. A traveling demolition derby driver and a former girlfriend of Fonzie, Pinky was played by Roz Kelly. Pinky’s little sister, Leather Tuscadero, formed a girl group on the show called Leather Tuscadero and the Suedes, and was played by musician and actress Suzi Quatro.
“I remember.” Mama.
I Remember Mama is a 1944 play by John Van Druten that later became a 1948 feature film, the basis for a 1950s television series, and a 1979 Broadway musical. It tells a series of heartwarming stories about the lives of a family of Norwegian immigrants living in San Francisco in the early 20th century.
Hey, look! The Judds.
Naomi and Wynonna Judd were a mother/daughter country-western duo whose hits include “Love Can Build a Bridge” and “Why Not Me.” Naomi retired in 1991 after being diagnosed with hepatitis C. Wynonna continued to tour on her own, and the two have reunited from time to time since then.
Well, they got their mudflaps on, that’s good. –Dirty pictures of guys on them.
An image frequently seen on truck mudflaps is the silhouette of a seated woman, one knee raised, leaning back propped on her outstretched arm, the better to display her … considerable assets. The design was created in the 1970s by Bill Zinda, owner of Wiz Enterprises, a business that markets truck and car accessories. The identity of the woman the figure is modeled after is in some dispute. Needless to say, someone has actually created a male version of the mudflap girl, showing a hunky guy in the same posture—it is sold mainly on T-shirts, hats, stickers, and the like. A number of other variations and parodies are also available.
Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland in a fight to the death! –Wow.
Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland (screen name: Joan Fontaine; 1917-2013) and her elder sister Olivia de Havilland (1916-2020) were Anglo-American actresses in the golden age of Hollywood. The two sisters famously had an uneasy relationship; de Havilland began her acting career first, and their mother, who reportedly preferred Olivia, forced Joan to choose a stage name. The sisters both won Oscars (although in different years), and at the awards ceremonies they snubbed each other, each winner ignoring her sister on her way up to the stage to accept her award. Fontaine claimed the feud was exaggerated by the studio to garner headlines, but admitted that she had stopped speaking with her sister in 1975 due to issues surrounding their mother’s death.
I think all this infighting is really hurting the National Organization of Women.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is a 500,000-member feminist organization in the United States, founded in 1966. Its 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia focus on sex discrimination, reproductive health services, violence against women, lesbian rights, gender pay discrimination, racism, and other issues important to women.
Lambada—the forbidden dance.
The lambada is a Brazilian dance that became briefly popular in the United States and Europe in 1989. A film called The Forbidden Dance came out in 1990 in an attempt to capitalize on the fad.
Wow—these Tupperware parties are getting way out of hand.
Tupperware is a brand of plastic storage containers that are traditionally sold at “Tupperware parties,” in which a sales representative (usually a woman) pitches to a group (again, usually women) gathered at someone’s home. They were first made in 1946.
Camille Paglia and Susan Faludi—the final conflict.
Camille Anna Paglia is an American professor, best-selling author, social critic, and self-described “dissident feminist.” Her 1990 book Sexual Personae made quite a splash, as did her comment the following year criticizing feminists for not being able to appreciate “the wild, infectious delirium of gang rape.” Susan C. Faludi is an American journalist and feminist author as well, whose best-known works are critical of sexual politics in general and feminism in the academic world in particular. Her most famous work is Backlash (1991), which argued that society was seeing a backlash against feminism. The two, as you might guess, are not fond of each other (Paglia called Backlash a “piece of crap”; Faludi quipped that Paglia was a “dominatrix”). Omen III: The Final Conflict is a 1981 horror film that starred Sam Neill as the grownup Antichrist Damien Thorn, plotting to kill the reborn Christ child.
[Sung.] Wonder Woman! De, de de, de de de de …
This is the theme song from the 1975-1979 television series Wonder Woman, which starred Lynda Carter and was based on the DC Comics superheroine.
“Am I not queen?” Ain’t I a woman?
“Ain’t I a Woman?” is the title of a speech given by former slave Sojourner Truth (c. 1797-1883) at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio, on May 29, 1851. The speech had no title originally, but it became popular during the American Civil War after a different version, written by Frances Gage, was published in 1863 under that title; the question was frequently repeated in this version of the speech as a rhetorical device. A contemporary transcription of Truth’s speech does not record her using the phrase.
Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet. The long version.
Arrakis, also known as Dune, is a fictional desert planet in the 1965 science fiction novel Dune by Frank Herbert, and the series of books that followed. They are a tad lengthy. “Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet” is a phrase that is used repeatedly both in the first chapter of the novel and in Paul’s dream sequence in the 1984 film version. “The long version” may also be a reference to the extended TV version of the film, which ran 176 minutes as opposed to the 137-minute theatrical version, achieved by adding in outtakes, additional footage, test shots, and repeated use of stock footage, as well as a longer opening narration accompanied by paintings and drawings. Director David Lynch protested the extended cut and eventually took his name off the credits.
I wonder what Billy Barty would do in this situation?
Billy Barty (1924-2000), who plays the imp in Show 806, The Undead, was a prolific actor who also crusaded for societal acceptance of little people; he founded Little People of America in 1957 to work toward that goal. He appeared in more than eighty films and TV series during his lengthy career.
Hey, that’s where Fred Flintstone works.
See above note on The Flintstones. Fred Flintstone worked in a rock quarry; his boss was Mr. Slate.
[Sung.] Midday at the oasis.
“Midnight at the Oasis” is a 1974 song written by David Nichtern that became a No. 6 hit single that year for singer Maria Muldaur.
He’s wearing Judy Jetson’s skirt.
Judy Jetson was the fifteen-year-old daughter on the animated TV series The Jetsons, which ran in primetime from 1962-1963, but aired for a couple of decades after that on Saturday mornings. The voice was supplied by Janet Waldo. Judy sported a kicky pinkish-purple outfit with a short, puffy skirt.
It don’t look like much, but if you want to hit the big jacks, this is the place to go. Silver spoon, oh, you bet.
These are fisherman terms. “Big jacks” likely refers to crevalle jack, a large saltwater fish, and “silver spoon” is a type of lure often used to catch them.
Damn it, Cabot, this is not your personal war!
Possibly borrowed from the litany of tough cop-talk heard in the ABC police drama NYPD Blue (1993-2005).
[Sung.] In the desert, you don’t remember your name …
The 1972 song “A Horse With No Name” by the folk-pop band America contains the lyrics “I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name/It felt good to be out of the rain/In the desert you can remember your name/Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain …” Songwriter Dewey Bunnell has said the imagery came from his childhood experiences in the Arizona and New Mexico deserts, but some U.S. radio stations banned the song because of the widespread belief that the “horse” in the song referred to heroin. The song has been parodied and ridiculed for its oddly phrased lyrics. Penn Jillette says he asked the band about this when they performed together in Atlantic City, and was told they were high on pot when writing the song, although band member Gerry Beckley has disputed this claim.
You’re starting to look more like Joey Heatherton all the time.
Joey Heatherton, with her distinctive bobbed blond hair, was a popular singer/actress/Vegas mainstay during the 1960s, whose persona as a purring sex kitten carried her on a crest of popularity through the decade. She was particularly well known for touring with Bob Hope on his USO shows. However, in the 1970s she fell out of vogue and began to have increasing drug and personal problems. She has largely disappeared from the public eye.
Uh-oh—Warrior of the Lost World set.
A reference to Show 501, Warrior of the Lost World, which takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
[Sung.] “Aw Du Peepo Abba in Da Woooaa.”
As described in The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, “Aw Du Peepo Abba in Da Woooaa” (the actual title is “Let Me in Your Life,” performed by Chrystina Myers) is the show-stopping song heard during the traumatizing kissing scene at the end of Show 501, Warrior of the Lost World (see previous note). In that scene, Robert “The Paper Chase Guy” Ginty and Persis Khambatta kiss for a full 70 seconds.
[Sung.] “Aw Du Peepo Abba in Da Woooaa.”
See previous note.
I figured it out. That guy’s the photo-negative of Hervé Villachaize.
Hervé Villechaize (1943-1993) was a French actor of part-Filipino descent who became famous for uttering the line “De plane! De plane!” on the TV show Fantasy Island, on which he appeared from 1978-1983. He had a condition called proportionate dwarfism, and preferred the term “midget” over “little person.” Conflicts over salary demands led to his departure in 1983, followed by very little subsequent work, health problems, and severe depression. He committed suicide in 1993. Fantasy Island waned in popularity after his departure and was cancelled the following year.
[Sung.] “Aw Du Peepo Abba in Da Woooaa.”
See previous note on Warrior of the Lost World.
The first Lollapalooza.
Lollapalooza was a hugely successful outdoor rock festival that toured the United States each summer from 1991 to 1997 with such bands as Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Smashing Pumpkins, and other alt.-rock stalwarts. It was revived in 2003 as an annual summer weekend event in Grant Park, Chicago, featuring alternative rock, hip-hop, and heavy metal bands, as well as dance, comedy, and performance art. Beginning in 2011, Lollapalooza events were also held in Chile and Brazil. The name for the festival comes from a 19th-century phrase meaning “an unusual thing,” later taken to mean “a giant lollipop.” According to festival organizer Perry Farrell, he decided on the name after he heard it in a Three Stooges short.
Come on, you’re watching Chevy Chase whether you like it or not.
Cornelius Crane “Chevy” Chase is an American comedian, writer, and actor best known for his various roles in the first season of Saturday Night Live, and for such films as National Lampoon’s Vacation and Caddyshack. In 1993, Chase hosted a late night talk show on Fox that was cancelled after four weeks and is widely considered one of the most spectacular failures in television.
It’s the S&M follies.
S&M, or sadomasochism, is a sex technique all about delivering pain (sadism) to a willing partner (masochism). (Thanks to christopherscottb for this reference.)
You got spunk. I hate spunk.
A famous line from the pilot of the TV sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977), spoken by gruff newsman Lou Grant (portrayed by Ed Asner) to Mary during a job interview.
You think I look like Greg Norman?
Gregory John Norman is a former professional golfer who enjoyed a No. 1 ranking throughout the 1980s and ‘90s. His blond hair and shark-infested homeland of Australia earned him the nickname “The Great White Shark.”
This movie is for the ladies. –But I like it too.
A famous 1980s ad campaign for Irish Spring soap featured a woman showering with Irish Spring and the slogan “Manly, yes, but I like it too”—referring to the product’s traditionally masculine scent.
Say, you seen Macaroni yet? I hear it’s excellent. Let’s catch it and then go get some espresso.
Macaroni is a 1985 Italian comedy film starring Jack Lemmon as an uptight American businessman who spends several days in Naples and, with the help of co-star Marcello Mastroianni, learns to relax and enjoy life.
“He’s dead.” Jim.
In his role as Dr. Leonard McCoy in the television series Star Trek (1966-1969), actor DeForest Kelley (1920-1999) uttered the phrase “He’s dead, Jim,” or some variation thereof, about twenty times. The line became a popular catchphrase. Post-Star Trek, Kelley disliked repeating the line and refused to say it in the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, but he once joked that the phrase would probably appear on his tombstone. (In fact, upon his death, the actor was cremated and his ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean.)
And so the Osmonds are marched from Utah. –Oh, good.
The Osmonds were a family singing group of Mormon brothers who hit it big in the 1970s with squeaky-clean pop songs like “Sweet and Innocent” and “Puppy Love.” Donny Osmond, one of the two lead singers in the band, became a teen idol and a successful solo star with hits like “Go Away Little Girl” and “The Twelfth of Never”; their sister, Marie, had her own career starting at age thirteen with her No. 1 country hit “Paper Roses.” Jimmy Osmond had a few solo hits as well. Donny and Marie went on to host a TV variety show from 1976-1979. Rumor has it she was a little bit country; he was a little bit rock & roll.
That’s right. You know, you can catch more slaves with honey than you can with vinegar. –Absolutely.
The proverb “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” meaning that you will have more success in life if you are nice to people than you will if you are a sour old grouch, dates back to A Common Place of Italian Proverbs by G. Torriano, published in 1666, but it first appeared in the U.S. in Poor Richard’s Almanac by Ben Franklin, in 1744.
Check it out, it’s one of them Jack Nicklaus golf communities. –Are you old? How do you know about that?
Jack William Nicklaus is an American professional golfer who, with 18 major championships under his belt in a 25-year career, is widely considered the most accomplished pro golfer in history. Nicklaus is also a respected golf course designer; his company is one of the largest in the world. Many residential communities built on and around golf courses have utilized Nicklaus’s designs.
Look, shut up, Iris.
“Shut up, Iris” is an oft-repeated line from Show 415, The Beatniks.
“Want some?” Thanks, Daddy-O.
Show 307, Daddy-O, featured Dick Contino (1930-2017) as a crooning, drag-racing drug runner with a heart of gold and very high pants. The line “Want some?” featured prominently in one of the host segments.
[Sung.] White slave in a wooden cage …
A line from the 1969 song “White Bird” by the psychedelic band It’s a Beautiful Day, off their self-titled debut album. Sample lyrics: “White bird/In a golden cage/On a winter’s day/In the rain …”
I have come to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of ass.
A variation on an immortal line from the 1988 science-fiction–horror movie They Live, written and directed by John Carpenter and starring professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Roderick Toombs, 1954-2015). In the movie, Piper finds a pair of sunglasses allowing him to see that the moneyed ruling class are actually aliens disguised as human beings. While battling the aliens, Piper at one point declares, “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass—and I’m all out of bubblegum.” The 1996 video game Duke Nukem 3D borrowed the line, and many erroneously believe that is its origin.
Do you have a Camaro?
See above note.
This is gonna be like Bosom Buddies, isn’t it?
An early career break for actor Tom Hanks, the TV sitcom Bosom Buddies (1980-1982) starred Hanks and Peter Scolari as two struggling advertising men who disguise themselves as women so they can live in an inexpensive women-only apartment building. The show’s quirky, improvisational humor brought good reviews, but ratings dropped and it was cancelled after its second season.
Is Wendie Jo Sperber in this?
Wendie Jo Sperber (1958-2005) was an American actress who played the exuberantly romantic Amy Cassidy in Bosom Buddies; she went on to film roles in Bachelor Party, Moving Violations, and Back to the Future. She died of breast cancer in 2005.
Here, Cabot, check this … [ululating]
Despite depictions in Western media, “Arabic ululations” are typically only performed by women and most often during times of celebration.
He’s dressed like a Selectric typing ball.
Before there was a computer on every desk, Selectrics were standard in offices the world over. They were a line of electric typewriters sold by IBM that featured a golf-ball-shaped letter punch that would stamp out the letters you typed at high speed; the ball could be switched out, allowing the user to change fonts. The Selectric was sold between 1961 and 1984 and at one point commanded 75 percent of the market.
Hey, I’m a bartender and it’s not fun anymore.
“I’m a bartender, and it’s fun!” is a line from a low-budget TV commercial for the Minnesota School of Bartending, which apparently ran endlessly on local television in the Minneapolis area in the 1990s. (Thanks to Babs Ganoush for this reference.)
(Imitating Bluto) Hey, what an auction there, what a girl, arrr Popeye…
In the Popeye cartoons, Bluto was Popeye’s arch nemesis and often rough-handed rival for the affections of Popeye’s sweetheart, Olive Oyl. Popeye the Sailor Man is a character created by E.C. Segar in 1919 for the Thimble Theatre comic strip. Beginning in 1933, Popeye became an animated character, thanks to the artistry of Fleischer Studios and the voice work of Billy Costello and Jack Mercer. (Thanks to ZeppoThePuppetMan for this reference.)
(Imitating Olive Oyl) Ooooh!
See previous note.
Who’s gonna auction there, with the girl, hamana hamana …
An imitation of comedian Jackie Gleason from his variety show, The Jackie Gleason Show, which aired, in various incarnations, between 1952 and 1970 (see above note). “Hamana hamana hamana …” was what Gleason would say when he was flustered and at a loss for words.
Hi-yo … whatever your name is.
“Hi-yo, Silver, awaaay!” is the classic catchphrase of the Lone Ranger, a fictional renegade lawman who has been featured on radio, in movies, and on television. He was portrayed most famously by actor Clayton Moore (1914-1999), who played the character in all three mediums. (Silver was the name of the Lone Ranger’s horse, in case you didn’t know.)
Boba Fett is a character from the Star Wars films. A rogue bounty hunter hired by Darth Vader, he was a villain in The Empire Strikes Back and (briefly) Return of the Jedi. His back story was later established in Attack of the Clones. His brooding and dangerous nature, not to mention his cool helmet and jetpack, made Boba Fett one of the more popular Star Wars villains, complete with a cult following. “Baba” is a term of respect for elderly men in several Asian and African cultures.
Man. Barnaby Jones had better fight scenes than this movie.
Barnaby Jones was a TV series that aired from 1973-1980. It starred The Beverly Hillbillies’ Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003) as an elderly private eye.
I wonder if there were actual suicides on this film.
According to an urban legend about the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, at the end of the scene where Dorothy and the Scarecrow meet the Tin Woodsman and the three head down the Yellow Brick Road, you can see someone hanging from one of the trees in the background. Legend has it the hanging man was a suicidal Munchkin who killed himself over an unhappy love affair and was inadvertently captured on film. The truth is more prosaic: to give the set a more outdoorsy feel, several birds were let loose on the soundstage. The “hanging man” is just one of the larger birds, possibly an emu or a crane, spreading its wings.
Hi-ho … oh, cripes, I keep forgetting my ding-dang sidekick.
The Lone Ranger’s sidekick was Tonto, played by Jay Silverheels on the TV show. (His horse was named Scout.)
Mel Tormé! The Velvet Fog!
Mel Tormé (1925-1999) was one of the 20th century’s most respected jazz vocalists, whose smooth, resonant voice earned him the nickname “The Velvet Fog.” He was also a prolific composer, writing more than 250 songs during his career. Tormé also did a little acting; his 1959 role in Girls Town was riffed on Show 601.
Good one, Cabot, you just set fire to the Boy Scout Jamboree.
A Boy Scout Jamboree is a large gathering of Boy Scouts. There are numerous Jamborees held at the national and international level; the World Scout Jamboree is held every four years in various countries.
Mmmm, Dove Bars, I love them no matter what dimension I’m in.
Dove Bars are a brand of ice cream bars manufactured by Mars Inc. They were created in 1956 by a Greek immigrant from Chicago, Leo Stefanos, but weren’t introduced nationally until 1985, when Mars purchased the brand.
[Sung.] Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
A line from the song “Wind Beneath My Wings,” written in 1982 by Jeff Silbar and Larry Henley. Recorded and performed by many artists, Bette Midler’s version, recorded for the soundtrack of the 1988 film Beaches, became a number one single in 1989 as well as a Song of the Year and Record of the Year Grammy winner in 1990. Sample lyrics: “Did you ever know that you’re my hero?/And everything I would like to be?/I can fly higher than an eagle/For you are the wind beneath my wings.”
“A woman may be free to feel for who she wants?” That’s what it says in Cosmo.
Cosmopolitan, or Cosmo, as it has been nicknamed, is a women’s magazine known for its cover photos of cleavagey women and articles with titles like “10 Ways to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed.” It is owned by the Hearst Corporation.
What are you, Thomas Merton? Let’s do it, c’mon!
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk and mystic, poet, social activist, and prolific writer. His more than 70 books on spirituality, social justice, and pacifism led to a rise in spiritual exploration in the 1960s and ‘70s. His best-known work was his autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, which was published in 1948 and brought him international fame.
[Imitating Mister Ed.] Why, thank you, sir, that’s very kind. Oh, that feels good.
See above note on Mister Ed. To make “Ed” appear to talk, his trainer initially put a piece of nylon thread in his mouth, but Bamboo Harvester was so bright he quickly learned to move his lips on cue.
Those shoes are very expensive. Open-toe type things. Doc Martens.
Dr. (or Doc) Martens is a British brand of footwear, although they also make luggage, clothing, and shoe care products. The classic Doc Marten boot (Style 1460) was introduced in 1960 and became popular among police officers, mail carriers, and factory workers. In the early 1970s, the style became standard wear for skinheads (giving the shoes an association with violence), as well as punks, New Wave musicians and fans, and members of other youth subcultures. Doc Martens are sturdy, well made, and not cheap.
Nice job on watch, Short Round.
Short Round was Indiana Jones’s 11-year-old sidekick in the 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The role was played by Vietnamese actor Jonathan Ke Quan.
The Bataan Nature Walk.
In April 1942, following the Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army forcibly marched 60,000-80,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war to a prison camp over 80 miles of rough jungle terrain. Forced to walk day and night in sweltering heat, prisoners were not provided with water, food, or medical care, and many of them were beaten, bayoneted, and murdered. Survivors dubbed it the “Bataan Death March.” The exact toll is difficult to pin down, but it is believed about 3,000 Filipino and American POWs died on the march and 27,000 more were killed by disease in the POW camp afterwards. An Allied military commission later ruled that the march had been a war crime on the part of the Japanese military. The Japanese ambassador to the U.S. issued a formal apology for the march in 2009.
In the next kingdom over Nell Carter is queen.
Nell Carter (1948-2003) was an American actress and singer known for her hefty frame and resonant singing voice. Best known for her starring role in the long-running 1980s sitcom Gimme a Break!, Carter also won a Tony Award in 1978 for her performance in the Broadway musical Ain’t Misbehavin’. She reprised the role for television in 1982 and won an Emmy.
Well, just that I envy that structure.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian medical doctor who is generally considered the father of psychoanalysis. He theorized that adolescent girls pass through a stage of anxiety upon realizing they do not have a penis, and called this stage “penis envy.”
It's Dr. Freud’s office.
In addition to his thoughts on penis envy, Freud was a firm believer in analyzing dreams to gain insight into one’s unconscious; he emphasized the influence of sexual desire on human psychology; he formulated the concept of the id, the ego, and the superego; and he laid the foundation for modern psychotherapy and the “talking cure.”
All her guards are wearing penny loafers.
In 1935, shoemaker Bass began making slip-on shoes, or loafers, called Weejuns, featuring a strip of leather across the top with a diamond-shaped cutout, which became a very popular style among college students. Sometime in the early 1950s, it became trendy to insert a penny into the leather slit, and the “penny loafer” was born. (Thanks to Soon To Be Best for this reference.)
Oh, sorry, Wally.
Leave It To Beaver is a popular TV sitcom that ran from 1957 to 1963. Centering around the exploits of naive but curious grade-schooler Theodore “The Beaver” Cleaver (Jerry Mathers), the show has become iconic for its portrayal of white, middle-class suburban family life in postwar America. Beaver frequently had to explain and/or apologize for some misadventure to his older brother, Wally Cleaver (Tony Dow).
Sampo … Sampo … Sampo!
A Sampo is a magical artifact in Finnish mythology that can take many forms and brings good luck to its holder. A Sampo featured heavily in the plot of Show 422, The Day the Earth Froze, and led to much riffing on the SOL as to the actual meaning of Sampo.
Oh, Bob Fosse.
Bob Fosse (1927-1987) was the choreographer and director behind some of the all-time classic musicals of the 20th century, including Cabaret and All That Jazz (which was loosely based on his life).
[Sung.] Oh you never would believe where those Keebler cookies come from …
An old advertising jingle for Keebler cookies, dating back to 1967. The complete lyrics: “Man, you never would believe where those Keebler cookies come from/They’re baked by little guys in a hollow tree/And what do you think makes those cookies so uncommon?/They’re baked in magic ovens and there’s no factory. Hey!”
I think they’re mining giant Chicken McNuggets.
Chicken McNuggets are fried chicken bits served at McDonald’s fast food restaurants.
Hi, Dwayne. Hi, Rerun.
Dwayne Nelson and Freddy “Rerun” Stubbs were two of the three central teenage boys in the TV sitcom What’s Happening!!, which aired on ABC from 1976 to 1979. (The third was Roger “Raj” Thomas.)
But the mines were your life’s blood, Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh is the second largest city in the state of Pennsylvania. It was founded in 1758 and named for English statesman William Pitt the Elder. The city was historically known for its booming steel industry, and all the belching smokestacks that implies, but its economy is now largely based on healthcare, tech, and financial services.
These people need a Mother Jones or a Martha Raye, or a …
Mary Harris “Mother” Jones (1837-1930) was an American schoolteacher who became an influential labor and community organizer. She coordinated labor strikes, co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW, better known as the Wobblies), and brought attention to the issue of child labor in American mines and textile mills. She was once called “the most dangerous woman in America” for her ability to organize mine workers. The liberal magazine Mother Jones is named after her. Martha Raye (1916-1994) was an American singer and actress whose star rose in the early days of television and was honored for her service to U.S. troops on USO tours during three wars. She was known to a later generation as the pitchwoman in a series of ads for Polident denture cleanser. However, the writers were probably thinking of Norma Rae, a 1979 film that starred Sally Field as a young woman trying to unionize her textile mill. It was based on the real-life struggles of union organizer Crystal Lee Sutton. (Thanks to Bluejay Young for the Norma Rae reference.)
“See that more slaves are sent to the mines. The work must continue.” Must be a De Beers mine.
De Beers is a diamond mining company founded in 1888 by Cecil Rhodes. Over subsequent decades the company built a virtual monopoly over the global diamond market and kept prices artificially high by purposefully keeping the supply low. By the time Rhodes died, De Beers controlled 90 percent of the world’s diamond production. By 2012, that share had fallen to less than 40 percent. Most of the De Beers diamond mines are in Africa, although in 2007 and 2008 the company opened two mines in Canada—its first outside Africa. The company has sometimes been accused of exploiting its workers, most of whom are extremely poor.
[Imitating Jack Palance.] Believe it … or not.
The original Believe It Or Not was a live TV show that premiered in 1949 and was hosted by Robert Ripley himself for the first thirteen episodes. He died of a heart attack shortly afterward, and several substitute hosts appeared until the show settled on Robert St. John, who continued in the role until the series ended in 1950. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! aired from 1982 to 1986 on ABC, with a robust afterlife on cable. The series was hosted by Jack Palance, who seemed to truly savor delivering his signature line “Believe it … or not.”
[Sung.] Cruella de Vil, Cruella de Vil …
Cruella de Vil is the 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. The song “Cruella de Vil,” featured in the film, was performed by Bill Lee as the singing voice of Roger Radcliffe, one of the dogs’ owners. Sample lyrics: “Cruella de Vil/Cruella de Vil/If she doesn’t scare you/No evil thing will …”
Fill out a 1099.
Often filed by independent contractors, a U.S. Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 is used to report income other than wages, salary, or tips.
Wow, these Steak and Ales get crowded on the weekends, huh?
Steak and Ale (named Jolly Ox in markets that didn’t allow references to liquor in a restaurant name) was a casual dining restaurant chain founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1966. It exploded in popularity in the 1980s, expanding to nearly 300 locations nationwide. That success led to so many similar competitors that Steak and Ale’s position in the marketplace eroded, and they closed all remaining locations in 2008.
The true story of Biosphere 2.
Biosphere 2 was a project maintained by the University of Arizona and intended by its originator, Space Biosphere Ventures, to produce a fully independent ecosystem within a contained space. Construction began on the $200 million project in 1985. In the early 1990s, two closed missions were conducted. The first lasted two years, but most of the insects and birds died and carbon dioxide levels fluctuated wildly. The participants factionalized and began to delve into emergency rations that weren’t produced in the sphere, and the science produced by the mission was widely criticized. The second mission only lasted six months as people both inside and outside the sphere were at each other’s throats over funding and domestic issues.
And do you carry The Wall Street Journal?
Published since 1889 in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, The Wall Street Journal is a daily newspaper with a business and financial focus. Dow Jones was acquired by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. (Fox News Channel, New York Post) in 2007.
Stuck in a “Wizard of Id” cartoon, huh?
“The Wizard of Id” is a newspaper comic strip created by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart in 1964. It is set in the medieval kingdom of Id, but addresses modern themes. The king has a large dungeon in his castle, and those who offend him frequently wind up chained to the wall there.
If is for children.
A line from the Roger Whittaker song “I Don’t Believe In ‘If’ Anymore,” which was a hit single in 1970 and charted even higher in 1975. Sample lyrics: “Oh I don’t believe in If anymore/If’s an illusion/If’s an illusion/No I don’t believe in If anymore/If is for children/If is for children/Building daydreams …”
Yeah, yeah, can I get a wet nap?
Wet naps, a.k.a. wet wipes, are premoistened towelettes made from paper or cloth, sold in plastic containers, and used to wash skin when soap and water are unavailable. They contain a mild astringent/soap/water mixture.
I mean, so, how could they preempt Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman two weeks in a row? It just doesn’t make sense! –I’m gonna write my affiliates.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was a TV series starring Jane Seymour as a female doctor in a frontier town; it ran from 1993 to 1998.
Okely dokely doo.
Probably an imitation of the gratingly cheerful speaking style of Ned Flanders, Homer Simpson’s much-loathed next-door neighbor in the long-running animated series The Simpsons, which first aired in 1989.
Pavarotti’s really fallen on tough times. –His art must not be selling. –Art?
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) was a popular operatic tenor who is considered one of the finest tenors of the 20th century, and certainly the most commercially successful. He toured widely in concerts, made numerous television appearances, and gave one notoriously bad dramatic film performance (Yes, Giorgio; 1982). He did not, however, dabble in the fine arts.
“What have you done to the prisoner?” They cancelled it. It was too obscure.
The Prisoner is a bizarre British television series that starred Patrick McGoohan as an ex-secret agent who is kept prisoner in a surreal seaside village and interrogated by a bunch of strange captors. The show only aired for one year, from 1967-1968, but has become a cult classic.
This is really awkward, but … he didn’t like Bronk.
Bronk was a TV crime drama starring Jack Palance as Detective Lieutenant Alex Bronkov. It ran for only one season on CBS, from 1975 to 1976.
“What did you offer him?” Sidekick on Conan O’Brien?
Paul Andrew “Andy” Richter has been the announcer and sidekick on all three of Conan O’Brien’s talk shows: Late Night and The Tonight Show on NBC, and Conan on TBS.
“I can make you their martyr.” Or I can make you a margarita.
A margarita is an alcoholic cocktail consisting of tequila mixed with orange liqueur and lime juice. It can be served on the rocks or blended with ice, usually in a glass rimmed with salt.
"I could make you a hero again." Or I could make you a fluffernutter.
Fluffernutter, popular among kids as a sandwich spread, is a combination of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, a jarred, gooey, sugary substance that has been on the market since the 1920s. A hero is a sandwich made from assorted meats and cheeses and served on an Italian roll.
Oh, I just hit the great floors.
See note on Great Floors, above.
T.E. Lawrence. One more time for T.E. Lawrence.
See above note on T.E. Lawrence. In 1917 Lawrence was captured, beaten, and sexually abused by members of the Ottoman military. Lawrence was also a masochist (in his writings about the torture, he described “a delicious warmth, probably sexual, swelling through me”), and later in life paid a fellow soldier to administer beatings to him.
Okay, I admit it! I like Newsies and Swing Kids!
Newsies is a 1992 movie musical about a newsboys’ strike at the turn of the 20th century. Starring Christian Bale and Bill Pullman, the movie was a flop, although it has since gained a cult following on TV and DVD. In 2012 a musical based on the film debuted on Broadway. Swing Kids is a 1993 film, also starring Christian Bale, about teenagers in 1939 Germany trying to balance their love of music and dancing with the rise of the Nazis and the coming war. The film received mixed reviews.
I was in Starlight Express!
Starlight Express is a stage musical, written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe, in which all the cast members are on roller skates. The show ran in London’s West End from 1984-2002. Less successful in the United States, it opened on Broadway in 1987 and ran just over two years.
Man, the Forum is hell.
The Forum was a personal growth seminar that was popular in California in the 1980s. It was a simplified and streamlined successor to the EST movement of the 1970s and was run by the same group, Werner Erhard and Associates.
Oh, look over there, it’s the Queen Mother. What a nice old gal.
Queen Mother is the title given to a former queen whose offspring currently holds the throne. The Queen Mother in question here is Queen Elizabeth, wife of English King George VI and mother of Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen Mother died in 2002 at the ripe old age of 101, beloved by all for her enormous hats and her fondness for gin.
Hey, Intolerance. Sort of.
Intolerance is a silent 1916 epic film directed by D.W. Griffith. Clocking in at three and a half hours, it weaves together four storylines from different time periods; the one referenced here is the one set in ancient Babylonia, which featured mammoth, ridiculously lavish sets.
Hey, quick everyone, Don McLean is up next!
Don McLean is an American singer-songwriter best known for his 1971 album American Pie and its hit singles “American Pie” and “Vincent.”
Hi, Rog, hi, Dwayne.
See above note on What’s Happening!!
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Supertramp. [Sung.] Dweemer … you know you are a dweemer …
Supertramp is a British rock band formed in 1970. They are known for imaginative storytelling and lead singer Roger Hodgson’s extraordinary vocal range. “Dreamer” was a hit single off their 1974 album Crime of the Century.
And now a word from King Friday.
King Friday XIII is the monarch of the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe,” the puppet kingdom on the children’s television program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired from 1968 to 2001 on PBS.
They’ve captured Roxette!
Roxette is a Swedish pop-rock duo (one blond gal, one brunette dude) that enjoyed international success in the late 1980s and early ‘90s with songs including “It Must Have Been Love” and “Listen to Your Heart”; they continue to tour and record.
“Everybody rise!” Here come de judge.
“Here come de judge” was a catchphrase originated by Black nightclub comedian Pigmeat Markham that later became the signature line of a recurring sketch on the TV comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. Several actors, including Markham, played “de judge” in early seasons, but the role was ultimately defined by Sammy Davis Jr.
Michael J. Fox!
Michael J. Fox is a Canadian-American actor who got his start playing politically conservative teen Alex Keaton on the TV series Family Ties, which aired from 1982-1989. He also starred in the wildly popular Back to the Future films in the 1980s, which turned him into a major star. From 1996 to 2000 Fox starred in the sitcom Spin City. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and revealed his condition publicly in 1999. He established the Michael J. Fox Foundation in 2000 to work toward a cure for the disease.
Is this Barabbas?
According to the Bible, before Jesus’ crucifixion, he was offered up to be freed per Roman tradition, but the people chose another prisoner, Barabbas, instead.
Hey, Sheila E. relaxing.
Sheila E. (b. Sheila Escovedo) is a musician and actress who began as a drummer in Minneapolis rocker Prince’s band and later branched out into her own solo career.
[Sung.] Black velvet if you please …
A line from the song “Black Velvet,” which was a number one hit for singer Alannah Myles in 1990. Sample lyrics: “Black velvet and that little boy’s smile/Black velvet with that slow southern style/A new religion that’ll bring ya to your knees/Black velvet if you please …”
Hey, check it out in the back ... [Sung.] “Wash n’ go, Pert Plus!”
Pert Plus is a brand of shampoo plus conditioner that is manufactured by Procter & Gamble; it was introduced in 1987 as a variation on their original 1980 Pert shampoo. Pert Plus was the first two-in-one shampoo/conditioner blend; it was quickly followed by imitators. “Wash n’ go with Pert” was an ad jingle for the brand in the 1980s.
Don’t worry, kids, we’ll have lions eating Christians, if you’ll just be patient.
During the early Christian era, the Romans executed some prisoners—army deserters, rebels, bandits—using animals, sentencing them damnatio ad bestias, “condemnation to the beasts.” (Christians were often executed for refusing to acknowledge the authority of the emperor, who was officially worshiped as part of the Imperial cult. According to contemporary reports, some of the Christians eagerly sought out their own martyrdom.) These executions often were a kind of halftime show between morning “beast hunts” and afternoon gladiatorial matches. The beasts in question included dogs, bears, boars, panthers, and lions. There is some disagreement among historians whether Christians were actually killed by lions (some say wild dogs were used), but so many different animals were used in so many executions that it probably did happen at some point.
“We shall drink …” The impossible drink.
“The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” is a well-known song written for the 1965 musical Man of La Mancha by Mitch Leigh, with lyrics by Joe Darion. Sample lyrics: “To dream/The impossible dream/To fight/The unbeatable foe/To bear/With unbearable sorrow/To run/Where the brave dare not go ...”
I believe in Crystal Light because I believe in me! Opa!
Crystal Light is a low-calorie drink mix, similar to Kool-Aid. A marketing slogan developed in 1979 declared: “I believe in Crystal Light cause I believe in me!” When serving the Greek dish saganaki (flaming cheese), the waiter pours retsina all over the top of the cheese and lights it, crying, “Opa!” The owner of the now sadly-defunct Parthenon restaurant in Chicago, Christos Liakouras, claims credit for inventing the tradition.
Oh, hey. You got bits of dolphin in that net.
The use of drift and gill nets in commercial tuna fishing can inadvertently kill many dolphins. Awareness campaigns in the 1980s led to a popular demand for “dolphin-safe tuna,” although the U.S. Consumers Union says the labels do not actually guarantee that no dolphins were harmed.
You know, these people should invent vaudeville or something. Anything.
Vaudeville was a type of variety stage entertainment popular around the turn of the 20th century. It heavily influenced early movies, radio, and TV.
Hey, Marquess of Queensberry rules.
The Marquess of Queensberry rules are the system upon which modern boxing is based. The term is also used to refer to living by a code of sportsmanship and honor, and having a sense of fair play. They were written by all-around Welsh sportsman John Chambers Graham (1843-1883), but named after John Douglas, 9th Marquess of Queensberry, a boxing enthusiast who endorsed the rules in 1867.
Ted Danson is an American actor best known for playing bar owner Sam Malone on the long-running TV sitcom Cheers (1982-1993); he also played the title role on the television series Becker (1998-2004). In 1993, the year this episode first aired, Danson performed an ill-advised blackface comedy routine at the roast of his then-girlfriend, Whoopi Goldberg.
Ah, great. Just when our Sir Chomps-a-Lot is done in the micro. All right, c’mon.
Sir Chomps-a-Lot was a line of canned, bite-size ravioli made by Chef Boyardee that was marketed heavily to children in the 1980s and ‘90s with a cartoon alligator mascot, dressed in a bowler hat, vest, and tails and carrying a cane.
Clear! Live, damn it! C’mon!
Probably a reference to a scene in the 1989 movie The Abyss in which Ed Harris tries to resuscitate the drowned Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio by pounding vigorously on her chest while screaming at her, “Goddamn it, you bitch! You never backed away from anything in your life! Now fight! Fight! Fiiiight!”
“Freedom!” Cry Freedom 2: The Armageddon.
Cry Freedom is a 1987 British drama film directed by Richard Attenborough, starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Klein, and set during the apartheid era of South Africa. The film was nominated for several Oscars, and won awards from the British Academy and the Berlin International Film Festival. Warlock: The Armageddon is a 1993 sequel to the 1989 horror flick Warlock, starring Julian Sands in the title role as the son of Satan, involved in all sorts of shenanigans having to do with druids and rune stones.
Well, now here comes the hard part, because with the freedom comes responsibility.
A paraphrase of a well-known saying by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, found in her book You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life: “Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.”
And thus ended the Paschal Crusades.
Probably a reference to Pope Paschal II, who reigned from 1099 to 1118 and continued the Crusades begun by his predecessor, Urban II.
It’s good to be the king.
A recurring line from the 1981 Mel Brooks film History of the World, Part I. Brooks, as the boorish King Louis XVI of France, would demand and receive sexual favors from the ladies in his court, then break the fourth wall by looking directly into the camera and asserting smugly, “It’s good to be the king.” Brooks also used the line in three other films: in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, in Spaceballs (as “It’s good to be the president”), and in the Broadway musical The Producers.
Teen gang! Teen gang is calling.
Early epidemics of juvenile delinquency and modern gang affiliations aside, “Hey, teen gang!” was a commonly heard and perfectly innocent exclamation in teen-oriented movies of the 1950s and ‘60s. It became a catchphrase on MST3K.
Hey, my New York Times.
Known as “The Grey Lady” and the “newspaper of record,” The New York Times is a daily newspaper that has been continuously published in New York City since 1851. It has won more than a hundred Pulitzer Prizes, and its website draws more than 30 million visitors per month.
Right, right. Tell it to Golan and Globus.
Menahem Golan (1929-2014) and Yoram Globus were the two Israeli businessmen who ran Cannon Films during the 1980s, a production company notorious for producing some of the cheesiest films of that era. Besides Show 516, Alien from L.A., the duo is responsible for Delta Force and Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo, among many others. In the early 1990s Golan and Globus sold the company and went their separate ways.
You know, actually I think this is Italy.
Actually, Outlaw was filmed in Namibia and South Africa.
You know, during this shot there have been three governments. Italy!
In the 1990s, the Italian government was in turmoil due to corruption, massive debt, and the influence of organized crime. Controversial elections led to frequent power transfers. In March 1994, for example, Silvio Berlusconi won his first bid to become prime minister, and his government collapsed nine months later, in December 1994, forcing him to step down. He would not return to power until 2001.
Have you seen the outtakes from this film? –Did they show them on Bloopers and Practical Jokes?
TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes is a fairly self-explanatory TV series that premiered in 1984 and aired periodically through 2007; it was revived for syndication in 2012. It was preceded by the similar TV’s Censored Bloopers and Television’s Greatest Commercials, which both aired from 1982-1984.
No, Faces of Death, actually.
Faces of Death is a controversial 1978 American film depicting explicit scenes of death and violence, some taken from news or police footage, others staged. Some 40% of the footage is admittedly fake, while other scenes, such as the aftermath of traffic accidents, are quite genuine. There were five sequels, the last of which merely recycled footage from the previous films.
Sounds like Miami Vice.
A triumph of style over substance, Miami Vice ran on NBC from 1984 to 1989. The crime drama starred Don Johnson as stubbly, sockless, pastel-wearing Miami cop Sonny Crockett; its use of music and visual effects to tell a story was new to television, and was very influential on other shows in the late 1980s.
Say, was this movie ever released in the theaters, do you think?
It was not. Outlaw of Gor was a direct-to-video release on March 21, 1989.
No, I don’t think so, but it’s a good bet it was on the USA Network one night. –Oh, the USA? [Humming theme music.] I really like those original movies they made especially for the USA Network. Da dum dum dum …
The USA Network is a basic cable network that shows wrestling, second-run shows, and some original programming. For a time in the 1990s it was known for somewhat racy fare, including La Femme Nikita and Silk Stalkings, although in later years it became more respectable thanks to its breakout series Monk, about a detective with OCD. It was founded in 1979.
Yeah, or Jeff Conaway and Shari Belafonte-Harper play a deadly game of cat and mouse in Murder Most Moist.
Jeffrey Charles William Michael “Jeff” Conaway (1950-2011) was an American actor best known for his roles in the 1978 musical film Grease and the TV series Taxi and Babylon 5. He also appeared on the first and second seasons of the reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. He died of pneumonia complications brought on by drug use. Shari Belafonte (she dropped the “Harper” after her divorce in 1988) is an American actress, writer, model, and singer, and the daughter of singer Harry Belafonte. She is best known for her starring role on the TV series Hotel (1983-1988), as a spokesperson for the diet supplement Slim-Fast, and among MSTies for her role in Show 405, Being From Another Planet.
Oh, hey, hey, let me play, I got one, I got one: Judy Landers is on the trail of a devious killer in Peekaboo Lace, P.I.
Judy and Audrey Landers were sibling actresses famous for their dual spread in Playboy magazine in 1983, although they also made appearances in numerous films and TV shows; Judy had roles in The Love Boat, Knight Rider, and The A-Team, among many others.
That’s pretty good. Oh, wait, how about: Jeff Conaway is a vigilante who stalks by night in Dark Underpants.
See previous note on Jeff Conaway.
How about this one: Lindsay Wagner is a sexy speech therapist held hostage in Tongue Lashing.
Lindsay Jean Wagner is an American actress best known for her Emmy-winning role in the TV series The Bionic Woman, which ran on ABC from 1976-1978.
Hold it, hold it, hold it, I got it, how about: Jeff Conaway is up to his mouth in murder in French Pistol. Catch it!
See previous note on Jeff Conaway.
Okay, here, try and top this one: Jeff Conaway is a college professor whose secret life catches up with him in Death Spank.
See previous note on Jeff Conaway.
I got a good one. How about Chris Lemmon and Heather Locklear form a crime-fighting unit in The Lingerie Justice Files?
Christopher Boyd Lemmon is an American actor and author, and the son of actor Jack Lemmon. He has had roles on the TV series Duet, Open House, and Thunder in Paradise, among others. Heather Deen Locklear is an American actress best known for her roles in the television series Dynasty, T.J. Hooker, Melrose Place, and Spin City.
That’s great! Wait, wait, I got another: Jeff Conaway and Morgan Fairchild are The Crotchless Killers.
See previous note on Jeff Conaway. Morgan Fairchild (b. Patsy Ann McClenny) is an American actress best known for her glamorous roles in multiple television series throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, including a star turn on Falcon Crest.
I like it, I like, it’s got verve. How about Hart Bochner weaves a web of suspicion between Richard Chamberlain and Ben Vereen in Tap Pant Desire.
Hart Bochner is an actor best known for playing the sleazy Harry Ellis in the 1988 film Die Hard. George Richard Chamberlain is an American actor and singer who became a teen heartthrob thanks to his title role in the television series Dr. Kildare (1961-1966), and later appeared in the mini-series Shōgun (1980) and The Thorn Birds (1983). Ben Vereen is an American actor, singer, and dancer who has appeared in numerous stage and screen productions, including Roots, All That Jazz, and Tenspeed and Brown Shoe.
Crow, I like the way you think. Try this one on: William Devane tracks a killer in a tropical paradise in The Hawaii Edible Underwear Murders.
William Joseph Devane is an American actor best known for playing scheming Senator Greg Sumner on the primetime TV soap opera Knots Landing (1983-1993).
Mike, I love you for that one. Okay, get this: Lisa Hartman is a streetwise cop who traps a killer in Cheek Beat.
Lisa Hartman Black is an American actress who got her start on Knots Landing (see previous note). Her first character, rock singer Ciji Dunne, was killed off in 1983, and fan reaction was so negative that producers brought Hartman back as lookalike Cathy Geary. Hartman went on to a modestly successful career in country music with her husband, country singer Clint Black.
You know, Servo, I’d marry you for that. But, oh, I have one, this one’s great: Jeff Conaway is a crazed cult leader in The Waco Panty Raid.
See previous note on Jeff Conaway. In 1993, the Waco compound of the Branch Davidians was under siege by the government for 51 days until an FBI raid led to a massive fire and 76 deaths, including 22 children.
Eric Roberts is a freaked-out artist who gets more than he bargained for in Naked Came the Nude.
Eric Anthony Roberts is an American actor, the brother of Hollywood diva Julia Roberts. He is perhaps best known for his turn in Star 80, in which he played the sleazy husband of doomed Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, but he has appeared in more than 150 other movies and television shows.
Peter DeLuise and Tommy Tune are Cod Police.
Peter John DeLuise is an American-Canadian actor, director, writer, and producer best known for his role as Officer Doug Penhall on TV crime drama 21 Jump Street (1987-1991); he is the son of comedian Dom DeLuise. Thomas James “Tommy” Tune is a ten-time Tony Award-winning dancer, choreographer, and theater director who’s also been known to sing and act. This may also be a reference to the comic book Fish Police, created by Steve Moncuse, which briefly became a TV show in 1992.