K07: Gamera vs. Zigra

by Trey Yeatts

Ever heard of Sandy Frank?  Once I dropped my corn dog at the state fair. –Oh, and you got a sandy frank?
Sandy Frank is an American film and television producer. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Frank imported, redubbed and distributed dozens of Japanese films, including the Gamera series.

Sandy Frank and Dean Martin ...
Dean Martin (1917-1995) was a singer and actor, a member of the Rat Pack of actors led by Frank Sinatra. He got his start as half of the Martin and Lewis comedy team , which propelled him and partner Jerry Lewis to superstardom. Martin was considered the epitome of 1950s cool, and his persona as a hard-drinking playboy persisted throughout his film career in the 1960s and 1970s.

Better music than usual. Sounds like the Turtles did it. Is that possible?
The Turtles were a late 1960s rock group. The primary members were Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman, who later became known as Flo & Eddie. Their first big hit was a remake of the Bob Dylan song “It Ain’t Me Babe” in 1965.

So very happy together.
“Happy Together” was the Turtles’ biggest hit. It was released in 1967.

And the magic of Lego Moon Base.
Legos are a brand of children’s toy consisting of plastic “bricks” that snap together to create almost anything: houses, cars, animals, people, etc. In the mid-1970s, Lego began producing the Space series: a collection of bricks with an outer space/astronaut theme. Various sets included Rocket Base, Moon Landing, Command Base, and more. (None was specifically called “Moon Base.”)

A flying Howard Johnsons.
Howard Johnson is a chain of restaurants and hotels instantly recognizable from highways across the nation thanks to their distinctive orange roofs.

To the taste of HoJo potatoes.
“HoJo” is a popular abbreviation for the aforementioned Howard Johnson chain.

Lego Moon Buggy not included.
In the aforementioned Lego Space series of toys, there were various lunar vehicles produced: Space Buggy, Lunar Scout, Surface Rover, etc. (Again, none specifically named “Moon Buggy.”)

The beginning of all life.
A reference to the previous Gamera films, which opened with shots of the undulating sea.

We can’t. We’re no angels.
Either a reference to the 1955 comedy of the same name starring Humphrey Bogart and Peter Ustinov, or the 1989 film starring Robert De Niro and Sean Penn.

He kinda looks like Sulu’s kid.
Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is a character on the original Star Trek television show (1966-1969). He was played by George Takei.

He looks just like Dean Martin.
See above note on Dean Martin.

I guess they didn’t want to pay Richter any kickbacks.
Charles Richter (1900-1985) was an American seismologist who developed the Richter magnitude scale, measuring the size of earthquakes. The scale was first used in 1935 and quantifies their intensity on a logarithmic scale between 1 and 10.

It’s a flying Denny’s.
Denny’s is a budget chain of restaurants found across the length and breadth of this fair land. It was founded in 1953 by Richard Jezak and Harold Butler as Danny’s Doughnuts in Lakewood, California.

Thank you, Spock.
Mr. Spock was a character on Star Trek. Played by Leonard Nimoy, Spock was the USS Enterprise’s first officer and science officer.

But it only goes up to magnitude ten. –Then they have nothing to worry about.
See previous note on the Richter scale.

I like that Tinkertoy set back there.
The Tinkertoy Construction Set is a popular children’s toy made completely of wood and allowing the child to build virtually anything. Characterized by colored dowels of varying sizes and hubs with multiple ports, the sets were first made in 1914 by Charles Pajeau and Robert Pettit in Illinois.

The same principle behind the Magic Fingers bed.
The Magic Fingers Vibrating Bed was a ubiquitous feature in hotel rooms in the 1960s. Coins were inserted in a device by the bed and a motor underneath would vibrate, usually for fifteen minutes. By 1980, there were more than one million Magic Fingers beds in the United States and Europe. It was developed by traveling salesman John Houghtaling (1916-2009) in the mid-1950s.

Uncle Remus galaxy.
Uncle Remus is a fictional Black character created by John Chandler Harris in 1881. He served as the narrator for various traditional Southern folktales featuring Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.

Perhaps they should start looking for Allen Funt.
Allen Funt (1914-1999) was the producer and host of the television series Candid Camera, which aired in various incarnations between 1948 and 1967. The basic premise of the show was to place unsuspecting people in embarrassing and bizarre situations and then film the wacky results. At the end of the ordeal, Funt would pop up with the cheery catchphrase “Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!” On a revived version of the show that aired in 1998, Funt’s son Peter acted as host.

I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Or I’m kissing up to Whitney Houston.
Whitney Houston was an American R&B singer who had multiple platinum hits in the ‘80s and ‘90s. These included 1986’s “Greatest Love of All” (sample lyrics: “I believe the children are our future/Teach them well and let them lead the way”), written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed about Creed’s battle with breast cancer. Houston married fellow R&B star Bobby Brown in 1992 and had a tumultuous, occasionally drug-fueled marriage until their divorce in 2007.

It’s the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald was a freighter that operated in the Great Lakes. It was launched in 1958. On November 10, 1975, the Fitzgerald encountered rough seas, broke in two and sank in Lake Superior, killing all 29 of its crew.

Oh my God, it’s Gordon Lightfoot!
Gordon Lightfoot ((1938-2023) was a Canadian singer-songwriter. In 1976, Lightfoot released “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” about the aforementioned wrecked freighter. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in the United States.

He looks like the Sydney Opera House.
The Sydney Opera House, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, is a world-famous performing arts center. Completed in 1973 and designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, it is easily recognized for its iconic series of huge concrete “shells.”

Now he’s doing Gene Simmons.
Gene “The Demon” Simmons, bassist for the rock band Kiss, was known for his abnormally long tongue, as well as for spitting blood and fire.

Follow the bouncing turtle.
The bouncing ball was a visual device used to indicate the rhythm of a song. Usually a white circle, the animated shape would appear to bounce from one word in the lyric to the next so that the audience—presumably singing along—would be able to keep up. It first appeared in the 1925 Fleischer Studios’ film My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.

Well, I’ll be singing “Kumbayah” in a minute.
“Kumbayah” is an American Black spiritual that dates back to the 1930s. Thanks to a folk revival in the 1960s, “Kumbayah” is often parodied and used for comedic effect in films and shows featuring campfires or other “feel-good” gatherings.

Hey, the wreckage of the Minnow.
On the television show Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967), the SS Minnow was the tour boat that became swept up in a storm, depositing the castaways on an uncharted desert isle.

Maybe he is. –He’s everybody’s turtle. Strategy, knowledge, and fun. –He’s a major film star.
The introduction to the long-running television game show Tic-Tac-Dough was “From Hollywood, it’s everybody’s game of strategy, knowledge, and fun! It’s Tic-Tac-Dough!”

My God! It’s Alley Oop!
Alley Oop was the title character in a comic strip created by V.T. Hamlin in 1932. Oop was a time-traveling caveman whose adventures frequently satirized American culture.

It’s David Crosby’s grandfather.
David Crosby (1941-2023) was a founding member of Crosby, Stills & Nash and one of the most influential folk-rock musicians of the 20th century.

Punchinello, Punchinello.
From Italy, Pulcinella (often called Punchinello in English) was a character common in 17th-century puppet shows and comedy presentations. He was often given a long nose, an odd voice, and manic tendencies. Many years later, he led to the creation of Mister Punch in the “Punch and Judy” puppet shows.

And they had lots of Spandex.
Spandex (also known as Lycra or elastane) was developed by DuPont’s Joseph Shivers in 1959. The name originates with the fiber’s elasticity: “Spandex” is an anagram of “expands.”

This kid needs Tegrin.
Tegrin was a line of medicated shampoos and creams used to fight dandruff; it was produced by GlaxoSmithKline until 2003.

Not even a Coke?! –Stop with the Coke!
Coca-Cola is the leading brand of cola in the world. It was first marketed as a refreshing soft drink by John Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1886 in response to the area’s recently passed prohibition laws. Yes, those early versions of Coca-Cola contained cocaine.

The machine that goes beep.
In the 1983 comedy film Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, “The Miracle of Birth” sketch was set in a birthing theater loaded with equipment, including the “Machine That Goes PING!”

Hey, they’re not supposed to have jets. –They don’t. Just film of jets. Lots of film of jets. Going this way and this way. –I thought ever since the war they weren’t supposed to have any.
The Treaty of Peace with Japan (a.k.a. The Treaty of San Francisco) was signed by forty-eight nations on September 8, 1951. It allowed Japan to maintain a purely defensive military.

Tora! Tora! Tora!
“Tora! Tora! Tora!” was the code phrase used by Japanese pilots as they prepared to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The code meant that complete surprise had been achieved. A direct translation of “tora” gives us “tiger” in English. In 1970, a dramatic film about the Pearl Harbor attack used this phrase as its title.

There are no Jewish people in this movie. Why would there be Torahs?
In the Jewish faith, the Torah is the so-called “Five Books of Moses.” Christians would know them better as the first five books of the Old Testament.

He’s diving on the Arizona now.
The USS Arizona was a Pennsylvania-class battleship in the United States Navy first launched in 1915. On December 7, 1941, it was sunk by the forces of Imperial Japan in the attack on Pearl Harbor, killing 1,177 people. Today, the stark white USS Arizona Memorial marks the vessel’s final resting place.

It’s the attack on Pearl Bailey!
Pearl Bailey (1918-1990) was a singer and actress who appeared in many Broadway musicals (including Hello, Dolly!) and films (Porgy and Bess, Carmen Jones).

Maybe you can go play baccarat, too, if you get the chance.
Baccarat is a card game often played in international casinos. It was featured in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and in early James Bond films.

She’s not an actress, but she plays one in this movie.
A series of commercials for Vicks Formula 44 cough syrup in the 1980s featured General Hospital actor Chris Robinson dressed in a white lab coat, saying, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Fellow soap actor Peter Bergman, of The Young and the Restless, later took over the role.

Hide in the Red Lobster.
Red Lobster is a chain of seafood restaurants with hundreds of locations across the country. It was founded in 1968 by Bill Darden.

Denture wearer.
Advertisements for Polident denture adhesive in the 1980s often featured Martha Raye, who was also introduced by both the narrator and a graphic as, “Martha Raye, actress and denture wearer.”

It’s a Hullabaloo.
Hullabaloo was a musical variety show that aired on NBC from 1965 to 1966. It often featured the latest and “hippest” musical acts. The show was known for its practice of having a different celebrity guest host each week and for its stable of Hullabaloo Dancers.

She wants a Coke.
See above note.

The Howard Johnsons under the sea.
See above note.

Not even Gamera can resist the rich taste of HoJo potatoes and snapper shrimp. Could you?
These Gamera movies are full of "resist the rich taste" riffs. Our best guess is that it's a take on the old Brim coffee slogan: "Fill it to the rim with the rich taste of Brim."

Right in the Eggo.
Eggo is a brand of frozen waffles that can be heated up in the toaster. They were first manufactured in the 1930s and are currently produced by Kellogg’s.

I was thinking of a swordfish trombone, but that’s a Tom Waits album. You wouldn’t know that. –You didn’t program me for Tom Waits.
Swordfishtrombones is a 1983 album by Tom Waits.

Let’s go surfing now ...
A line from the Beach Boys’ 1962 song, “Surfin’ Safari.” Sample lyrics: “Let’s go surfin’, now/Everybody’s learning how/Come on a safari with me …”

Don’t sing. –They don’t like it. –Next they’ll be playing “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the phone.
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a traditional nursery rhyme dating back to 1830 and based on an actual incident that took place in Sterling, Massachusetts. The school to which Mary brought her lamb, the Redstone School, was relocated to Sudbury, Massachusetts, where it still stands.

She wants a Coke.
See above note.

She wants an Oscar.
Oscar is the name given to the statuette awarded for acting and other filmmaking excellence by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences every year. Theories on the naming of the trophy are legion, but the first awards were presented in 1929 and by 1939 the Academy had officially adopted the name.

Kinda like the background curtains for Hullabaloo.
See note on Hullabaloo, above.

A Radarange would be better.
Radarange was the first microwave oven in the world. Produced in 1947 by Raytheon, it was six feet tall, weighed 750 pounds and cost $5,000. In 1967, the first home model Radarange was produced and sold at the low, low price of $495.

Auntie Em!
A reference to a line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, spoken by Dorothy (Judy Garland).

My kingdom for a light!
A paraphrase of a line from William Shakespeare’s Richard III, Act 5, Scene IV: “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”

I said Bud Light!
A reference to an advertisement for Bud Light, the light beer made by Anheuser-Busch.

Wrapped up like a deuce, like a roller in the night.
A partial lyric from the 1973 Bruce Springsteen song “Blinded by the Light,” later remade by Manfred Mann in 1977. (Mann’s version became a number 1 Billboard hit.) The line in Springsteen’s version is “Cut loose like a deuce ...” In Mann’s version, it was altered to “Revved up like a deuce ...” In the intervening years, many people have misheard the line as “Wrapped up like a douche ...”

The Waltons was a classic family TV drama that aired from 1972 to 1981. It starred Richard Thomas as John-Boy Walton. “Good night, John-Boy” was a catch phrase of the show.

The ocean, beginning of all life.
See above note.

Let’s go surfin’. –Everybody’s learnin’. –Come on a ... –Safari ... –With me.
See above note.

Next time we’ll use Vivarin.
Vivarin is an over-the-counter caffeine pill, similar to NoDoz.

Try Visine. –Because it gets the red out?
Visine is a brand of eye drops produced today by Johnson & Johnson. Its most popular ad slogan was, “It gets the red out.”

Smoke in the water? –Fire in the sky. Hey, I think there’s a song there. –Wasn’t that done by Deep Turtle?
“Smoke on the Water” is a song by the band Deep Purple released in 1972.

Auntie Em! Auntie Em!
See above note.

See above note.

Lucy! Desi! Fred!
Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and Fred Mertz (William Frawley) were characters on I Love Lucy, the iconic 1951-1957 sitcom. Desi Arnaz played Ricky Ricardo, Lucy’s husband on the show and in real life (until they divorced in 1960, anyway).

It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that sting.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1931 Duke Ellington song “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

Oh, the mark of Zorro.
Zorro is a fictional hero in nineteenth-century Spanish California who protects the people from the tyranny of their Spanish masters. He traditionally dresses in black and carries a whip and a sword, with which he carves his trademark “Z” into walls, trees, and sometimes bad guys. He was created by pulp writer Johnston McCulley in 1919.

If she wants a Coke ... Argh!
See above note.

I think I see a happy ending coming. –I think I see a body slam. –I think I see a giant lawn dart.
Lawn darts (sometimes sold as Javelin Darts, compressed to just Jarts) were outdoor toys that consisted of large metal weighted darts and plastic fins. The object was to toss the darts into the sky so they would land within a plastic ring. Due to obvious safety concerns, the United States banned them in 1988. Canada followed suit in 1989.

[Sung.] Tiny bubbles ...
“Tiny Bubbles” was a song written and performed by Don Ho. It was released in 1967.

And so, Gamera gets a job with Dave Brubeck.
Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) was a jazz pianist known for his experimental musical stylings and his compositions for both orchestra and television. In 2009, he became a Kennedy Center Honoree.

I think we’ve discovered the worst scene in motion picture history. –And it didn’t have Liz Taylor in it.
Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011) was an Academy Award-winning actress best known for her violet eyes and her many marriages.

Nagasaki, Gamera! Toyota, Gamera! Datsun, Nissan, Corolla, Gamera!
Nagasaki, Japan, was the second city bombed with an atomic device on August 9, 1945, three days after Hiroshima. Toyota is the world’s largest automobile maker in both sales and production. Datsun was a Japanese automaker bought by Nissan in 1933. The Datsun brand was phased out in 1986. Nissan is Japan’s third-largest automaker, behind Toyota and Honda. The Toyota Corolla is a popular line of compact cars first introduced in 1966. In 1997, Corolla became the best-selling vehicle in the world. Over the last four decades, one Corolla has been sold (on average) every 40 seconds.