817: The Horror of Party Beach
by Wyn Hilty
Oh, another Afrikaner beach movie—you can’t beat ‘em.
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in South Africa, descended from white Protestant settlers. During the apartheid era in South Africa, it was the Afrikaner minority that ruled over the black majority.
Sturgis: a city on the move.
Sturgis is a small town in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is host to an annual biker rally every August that draws more than half a million motorcyclists.
Is that Jacques Brel coming up behind them on the bike?
Jacques Brel (1929-1978) was a Belgian composer known for his strong lyricism in songs such as “Ne Me Quitte Pas.” He also appeared in a few French films, although he remains known chiefly as a musician.
Um, we’re just running to the Tom Thumb, honey. Do we really need the honor guard?
Tom Thumb is a chain of grocery stores based in Dallas.
I love chugging Cointreau on the beach.
Cointreau is a French orange liqueur, similar to Grand Marnier. It was first sold in 1875 and now sells millions of bottles per year around the globe.
My little Hardware Hank.
Hardware Hank is a chain of retail hardware stores in the United States. It is based in Minnesota.
I speak Esperanto these days.
Esperanto is a “constructed” language developed in the late 19th century by L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish linguist who wanted to create a language that native speakers of any tongue could master, in hopes of facilitating international relations. Today probably 2 million people speak Esperanto.
[Sung.] Fear of intimacy … exciting and new …
“Love, exciting and new” is the opening line to the theme song for TV’s The Love Boat, which aired from 1977-1986. Sample lyrics: “Love, exciting and new/Come aboard. We're expecting you/Love, life's sweetest reward/Let it flow, it floats back to you.”
[Sung.] Sail away …
A reference to a Beck's beer ad from 1996, which showed ships sailing and suns setting and people enjoying good, wholesome beer, all to the strains of "Sail Away" by German rocker Hans Hartz; it was his biggest hit, mainly due to its use in the ad. (Thanks to Chris Klumpp for this reference.)
Spandau Ballet goes on a fishing trip.
Spandau Ballet was a Britpop band in the 1980s. Hits included "True" and "Gold."
Oh, it’s an Exxon training film.
On March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker carrying 53 million gallons of crude oil from Alaska, ran aground on a reef, spilling nearly 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound. The captain had been drinking earlier in the day, and the third mate who was on duty when the accident occurred may have been working for as long as 18 hours straight. Roughly 1,300 miles of beach were contaminated, and estimates of wildlife killed by the spill include 250,000 birds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon and herring eggs. Cleanup efforts cost more than $2 billion.
I hope that’s Paula Cole in there.
Paula Cole is a singer-songwriter of the Tori Amos/Sarah McLachlan school. Her 1996 single “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” was all over the radio, and she won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1998. Cole was one of the original artists in the traveling Lilith Fair.
Two hundred million flushes.
2000 Flushes is a brand of automatic toilet bowl cleaner manufactured by WD-40 Co.
[Sung.] Ave Maria …
A line from “Ave Maria,” written by Franz Schubert about 1825. It uses the words from the traditional Latin prayer, which read (in translation, and in part): “Ave Maria! Ave Maria! maiden mild!/Listen to a maiden's prayer!/Thou canst hear though from the wild/Thou canst save amid despair.”
Just another day at Love Canal.
Love Canal is a neighborhood in the city of Niagara Falls, New York. Before the homes and the school occupying the land were built, Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corp. used the site as a toxic waste dump. In 1978, the president of the local homeowners association, Lois Gibbs, began investigating chronic health problems among the residents, including sky-high cancer rates and unusually high illness rates at the local elementary school. After two years of efforts in the face of corporate and governmental stonewalling, the residents succeeded in having the site declared a federal emergency. They were relocated and compensated for the loss of their homes, and the development was bulldozed. As a result of the scandal, Congress established the Superfund, which provided for cleanup at toxic sites throughout the country.
He’s turning into Oliver Reed’s liver.
Oliver Reed (1938-1999) was an English actor who appeared in such films as The Three Musketeers and Oliver! He was famous for his public drinking bouts; he once removed his pants during an interview, and on another occasion he was thrown off a TV talk show after trying to kiss one of the other guests, feminist writer Kate Millett. He died of a heart attack in 1999, reportedly after a massive binge at a pub in Malta.
The monster gets up and immediately puts on his Metal Machine Music.
Metal Machine Music is a 1975 album by Lou Reed, consisting mainly of guitar feedback noises played at different speeds. It has been widely speculated that Reed released the album as a joke, although he claims that at the time he was quite serious—and extremely stoned.
Hey, it’s a John Hurt mask.
John Hurt is a British actor known for his roles in such films as The Elephant Man, in which he played title character John Merrick, and Alien, in which he played the victim in the famous “chest-burster” scene.
The incredible horrible Mr. Limpet.
The Incredible Mr. Limpet is a 1964 film starring Don Knotts as a man who is transformed into a fish.
Yeah, all this talk about swimming with the sharks—well, I do it every day, pal!
Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive is a business book by Harvey Mackay. First published in 1988, the book offers advice on how to claw your way to the top.
Thing sleeps with the fishes.
Thing was the disembodied hand on the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966. “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes” is a famous line from the 1972 film The Godfather.
Original soundtrack by Nigel Tufnel.
Nigel Tufnel, as played by comedian Christopher Guest, is the guitarist for the heavy metal band Spinal Tap in the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Tufnel is known for his innovative solos, such as the time he played his guitar with a violin and the time he set his guitar on a stand and tossed horseshoes at it.
The monster stars in the one-man version of The Pirates of Penzance.
The Pirates of Penzance is an operetta written by Gilbert & Sullivan. First performed in 1879, it tells the story of a young man raised by pirates who falls in love with the beautiful daughter of a military man.
[Sung.] I am the very model of a modern major general/I’ve information animal …
A line from “The Major-General’s Song,” from the musical The Pirates of Penzance (see previous note). Sample lyrics: “I am the very model of a modern major-general/I’ve information vegetable, animal and mineral/I know the kings of England and I quote the fights historical/From Marathon to Waterloo in order categorical.”
Todd Solondz in the middle, there.
Todd Solondz is an independent filmmaker known for Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995), Happiness (1998), Storytelling (2001), Palindromes (2004), and Life During Wartime (2009). His films typically delve into the dark, bitter areas of middle America’s depression and dissatisfaction.
Hey, in the back there—Drew Carey!
Drew Carey is a standup comedian and actor best known for his starring role in The Drew Carey Show, which aired from 1995-2004.
The Velvet Underground hadn’t really found its head yet.
The Velvet Underground was a highly influential rock band in the 1960s and 1970s; although never a commercial success, the band inspired a near-fanatical devotion in its followers and exerted tremendous influence over dozens if not hundreds of other bands. Singer Lou Reed enjoyed a successful solo career after the band split up in 1973.
Well, into the U-Store-It, men.
U-Store-It is a chain of self-storage facilities, one of the largest in the country; it boasts somewhere around 37,000 locations nationwide.
Jean-Paul Sartre’s motorcycle gang. –I believe in the existential outlaw as hero. That is why I travel with these men.
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was a French novelist and playwright who advocated the philosophy of existentialism, which supported the freedom of individual beings. His most famous work is probably the play No Exit.
Ehh, go to Vietnam.
The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was a clash between the government of South Vietnam and its United States ally against the communist government of North Vietnam, which was seeking to unite the country under its rule. The United States was drawn into the war as part of its Cold War effort to stave off “communist aggression” throughout the world. In this case it failed: after it finally pulled out in 1975, the North Vietnamese quickly overwhelmed the remaining South Vietnamese resistance. The conflict cost the U.S. billions of dollars, the credibility of the government in the eyes of its citizens (the term “credibility gap” stems from this era), and the lives of more than 50,000 Americans.
Johnny Mathis and the Conan O’Briens.
Johnny Mathis is a traditional male vocalist who appealed to the adult contemporary audience of the 1960s and 1970s. Although he charted very few singles, many of his albums did remarkably well, a dozen of them hitting gold or platinum status. He is known for his few chart toppers, among them “Chances Are” and “Too Much, Too Little, Too Late.” Conan O’Brien is a talk-show host who from 1993-2009 had a late-night talk show, Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Although initially panned, the show eventually acquired a following. In 2004 he was named as Jay Leno’s successor on The Tonight Show starting in 2009, but his tenure lasted only seven months, as Leno's prime-time show had collapsed and network executives wanted him back on his old show. O'Brien launched a new show on TBS in 2010 called Conan.
Hey, don’t bogey that Metrecal, man.
Metrecal was a weight-loss shake mix, adapted from baby formula, that was sold from the 1950s through the 1970s, the forerunner to Slim-Fast and its ilk. It was manufactured by Mead Johnson.
Arrhhh—it’s the belly of the great white.
An imitation of Ahab, the obsessed captain determined to track down the great white whale that took his leg in the Herman Melville novel Moby-Dick.
It’s a gang led by Deepak Chopra.
Deepak Chopra is a physician and spiritual healer who has written a series of highly successful books, based loosly on Hindu mysticism, that purport to teach you how to heal yourself, defy aging, etc.
Hmmm, Dondi is quite the stud.
“Dondi” was a comic strip that debuted in 1955, created by Gus Edson and Irwin Hasen. It was initially about the adventures of a World War II orphan who is adopted by an American soldier; in later years, the orphan aspect was de-emphasized and Dondi just became a small-town kid having adventures. The strip ran until 1986.
Fanny Brice and Scott Hamilton make out.
Fanny Brice (1891-1951) was a comedian best known as the bratty toddler Baby Snooks, a radio character that became so popular she eventually got her own show, The Baby Snooks Show, which aired from 1944 until Brice’s death in 1951. Scott Hamilton is a figure skater who took home the gold medal from the 1984 Olympics. After that competition he turned professional, touring with his own skating company for 15 years before retiring.
Oh, no! It’s the selkie children! They’re attacking!
A reference to the 1994 movie The Secret of Roan Inish, about a little girl who goes to live on a deserted island with her grandparents; while there she discovers a mysterious boy who may be her little brother, lost to the sea many years ago.
Hey, you guys, look up there. It’s … the rock.
The Rock is a 1996 film about a team of men that must break into Alcatraz when a gang of soldiers threatens to launch a nerve gas attack against San Francisco from the old island prison. It starred Sean Connery and Nicolas Cage.
Music by the My Three Sons.
My Three Sons was a TV sitcom that aired from 1960-1972. It starred Fred MacMurray as a widowed aircraft engineer struggling to raise his three boys.
Look at me! I am so Twyla Tharp!
Twyla Tharp is a popular American dancer and choreographer who ran her own dance troupe from 1965-1988, when she disbanded the group and joined the American Ballet Theatre.
Do the Bruce Springsteen!
Bruce Springsteen is an iconic folk and rock musician who has remained consistently popular since the early 1970s. His many, many hits include “Born in the USA” and “Thunder Road.”
Hey, no cutting in, Rerun.
Rerun (played by Fred Berry) was a popular character on the TV series What’s Happening!!, which ran from 1976-1979. Rerun was generally seen in his trademark beret and suspenders.
I’d rather see Rose Marie and Morey Amsterdam do the lambada.
Rose Marie is an actress who is best known for her role as Sally Rogers on The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran from 1961-1966. She got her start as a child actress (under the name “Baby Rose Marie”) in the 1920s. Morey Amsterdam (1908-1996) was a comedian who got his start in vaudeville. He also appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show (as comedy writer Buddy Sorrell) and appeared with co-star Rose Marie on the game show The Hollywood Squares. The lambada is a South American dance that was briefly trendy in the 1980s, when it was known as “the forbidden dance.”
James Franciscus is not pleased.
James Franciscus (1934-1991) was an actor who appeared in several TV series, including Naked City (1958-1963), The Investigators (1961), and Mr. Novak (1963-1965).
How can I star on Longstreet if I have a girlfriend like you?
Longstreet was a short-lived TV series (1971-1972) that starred James Franciscus (see previous note) as a blind insurance investigator.
[Sung.] Chances are that I’ll kick your scrawny ass …
A reference to the Johnny Mathis song “Chances Are.” Sample lyrics: “Chances are 'cause I wear a silly grin/The moment you come into view/Chances are you think that I'm in love with you.”
Bernardo is the leader of the Sharks gang and the brother of heroine Maria in the musical West Side Story. The part was played on Broadway by Ken Le Roy and in the film by George Chakiris.
Ow! I just had radial keratotomy today!
Radial keratotomy is a surgical procedure designed to correct myopia, in which small cuts are made in the cornea, which is then stretched and flattened to aid the patient in focusing better. RK has been largely replaced by laser eye surgery for correcting vision, but it is still used in a minority of cases.
I don’t know, it just seems to me that Lillian Gish could take this gang.
Lillian Gish (1893-1993) was an actress who got her start in the silent film era. A petite woman with a delicate beauty, she often played fragile, helpless heroines in films such as Birth of a Nation and La Boheme. After the 1920s she concentrated largely on stage work, although she appeared in a handful of other movies before her death in 1993.
I’m Marisa Tomei and I’m concerned.
Marisa Tomei is an actress best known for her role in the 1992 film My Cousin Vinny, for which she won an Oscar.
I’m Joan Kennedy and I’m concerned.
Joan Kennedy is the onetime wife of U.S. Senator Teddy Kennedy. The couple were married in 1958 and divorced in 1984. They had three children together.
Fight direction by William Shatner.
Actor William Shatner played Captain James Tiberius Kirk on the TV series Star Trek (1966-1969) and in the series of movies based on the show. Kirk was constantly getting in fights on the show, which consisted largely of rolling around in an athletic fashion.
William Bendix to the rescue.
William Bendix (1906-1964) was an actor who appeared in a number of films, including starring as Babe Ruth in The Babe Ruth Story. He was better known, however, as the title character on the radio show The Life of Riley, which ran from 1944-1951; he also played the character on the TV version of the series from 1954-1958.
She uses the Art Garfunkel hair care system.
Art Garfunkel is a bushy-haired musician, best known as half of the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel.
She swims like Luis Tiant.
Luis Tiant was a legendary pitcher for the Boston Red Sox in the 1970s; he was known for his contorted pitching style, which frequently twisted him around until he was looking at second base while preparing to launch the ball.
Mark Harmon on drums.
Mark Harmon is an actor who has appeared in a number of films and TV series, most notably playing doctors on St. Elsewhere (Dr. Bobby Caldwell, 1983-1986) and Chicago Hope (Dr. Jack McNeil, 1996-2000).
I’m starting to agree with the Taliban militia—dancing should not be allowed.
The Taliban were a group of radical Islamists that began as freedom fighters in Afghanistan’s long war against the occupying Soviet Union during the 1980s. They came to power in 1996 and immediately instituted an extreme form of Sharia, or Islamic religious law. Floggings and public executions became common. Men were required to wear beards on pain of being beaten, and women were forbidden to work or go to school. The Taliban were ousted by a U.S. invasion in 2001 in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Leopard-skin pillbox bra.
A reference to the Bob Dylan song “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat.” Sample lyrics: “Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat/Yes, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat/Well, you must tell me, baby/How your head feels under somethin' like that/Under your brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat.”
Cool—it’s the Rosetta Stone.
The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in three languages: hieroglyphic Egyptian, demotic Egyptian, and Greek. It was discovered in the town of Rosetta in 1799; in 1822, a scholar named Jean-Francois Champollion used the Rosetta Stone to finally unlock the meaning of the difficult hieroglyphic language.
A sexy Romulan girl!
Romulans were one of the villainous races on the original Star Trek TV series, which aired from 1966-1969. They closely resembled Vulcans with their pointed ears and slanted eyebrows.
They’re doing the going mental dance.
A reference to Ed Grimley, a comic character created by Martin Short for the TV series SCTV and later on Saturday Night Live. Grimley, a thin, nerdy guy with a spike of lacquered hair sticking straight up from his skull, was famous for the catch phrase “Completely mental, I must say.” He also was known for doing a psychotic little dance.
Ooh, Lloyd Bridges has not aged well.
Actor Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998) starred as scuba diver Mike Nelson on the TV series Sea Hunt, which aired from 1958-1961.
Go, Romulan babe!
See note on Romulans, above.
All hail to Ra, the sun god!
Probably a reference to an old joke by comedian George Carlin: “All hail the sun god, he sure is a fun god. Ra! Ra! Ra!”
[Sung.] I am a rock/I am an island …
A line from the Simon & Garfunkel song "I Am a Rock." Sample lyrics: "I am a rock/I am an island/I've built walls/A fortress deep and mighty/That none may penetrate."
An imitation of the Cookie Monster, a Muppet on the children’s TV show Sesame Street. The character was originally voiced by Frank Oz.
Swimsuit by The Mike Douglas Show.
The Mike Douglas Show was a daytime talk/variety show hosted by singer Mike Douglas (1925-2006). It ran for virtually forever, from 1961-1981. Featured guests included Richard Pryor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and a two-year-old Tiger Woods.
Offshore, the Normandy invasion force waits patiently.
On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces launched a major assault on Hitler’s forces in France with an amphibious landing on the beaches in Normandy: D-Day. Many of the beaches where the Allied troops waded ashore were heavily fortified by the Germans, and casualties were horrendous. A furious fight raged through northern France for the following two months, concluding with the liberation of Paris in August.
Nair side, foam side. Nair side …
Nair is a brand of hair-removal product; I assume this is an old commercial slogan, but I was unable to confirm this.
I want my Peter Allen albums back.
Peter Allen (1944-1992) was a songwriter and cabaret performer popular during the 1970s and 1980s. He was briefly married to singer Liza Minnelli and wrote hit songs for performers like Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton John.
It’s Chris Farley in a thong!
Chris Farley (1964-1997) was a rotund comedian best known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live and in a series of movies with fellow SNL alum David Spade. He died young from an accidental drug overdose.
Look out! Ted Kennedy’s driving home!
Ted Kennedy (1932-2009) was a senator from Massachusetts and one of the last old-school liberals in Congress until his death in 2009. In 1969, he drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, drowning his passenger, a young woman named Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator did not report the accident for hours, and although his family connections protected him from any criminal repercussions, the scandal came close to ending his political career.
I hope that’s a Clark Bar.
Clark Bars are a type of candy bar first sold as far back as 1886. They are manufactured by Necco.
“It’s 9:30.” Mother Angelica is on.
Mother Angelica (born Rita Rizzo) is a Roman Catholic nun and the founder of the Eternal Word Television Network, a Catholic religious network. For many years she hosted EWTN’s flagship program, Mother Angelica Live. Due to age and ill health, she no longer hosts the show, but EWTN still airs reruns of her old shows.
Well, hit the siren. Shakey’s lunch buffet awaits.
Shakey’s is a chain of family pizza restaurants located in a number of states, including Wisconsin and Ilinois.
See note on Hardware Hank, above.
Why did I fire Hazel?
The TV sitcom Hazel aired from 1961-1966. It starred Shirley Booth (1898-1992) as Hazel Burke, a maid for a successful corporate lawyer and control freak who was continually upstaged by his housekeeper.
You betrayed me, Fredo.
A reference to a famous line in the 1974 film The Godfather Part II: “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart. You broke my heart!” Spoken by Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) after he discovers that his brother Fredo (John Cazale) has betrayed him.
That’s not how you make sun tea.
Sun tea is a method of making iced tea in which you place tea bags and water in a glass container and place the container in direct sunlight to steep. Recently this practice has been discouraged, as it can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria in the tea.
The actual summit of K2?
K2, at 28,251 feet, is the second-tallest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest. It is located in the Himalayas, straddling the border between China and Kashmir. The summit was not reached until an expedition in 1954.
They’ve only been together a couple of hours, but they’re all already on the same cycle.
Synchronous menstruation is a physical phenomenon first clinically described in 1971. Due to what research has suggested is pheromones, groups of women who live or work closely together—mothers, daughters, and sisters; dorm residents; even co-workers—tend to see variations in their usual menstrual cycles until all the women are menstruating on roughly the same schedule.
Never invite Janis Ian to your slumber party.
Janis Ian is a singer/songwriter famous during the 1960s and 1970s. Several of her hits have to do with teenage angst, including “Society’s Child,” about an interracial romance, and “At Seventeen.”
So they put The Second Sex to music.
The Second Sex is a 1949 book by French intellectual Simone de Beauvoir, which argued that throughout history women have been viewed as the “other,” somehow deficient sex, as opposed to the male norm. It is considered one of the 20th century’s seminal feminist works.
The Ipswich Women’s Club presents Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery.”
A reference to a series of skits on the BBC comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in which members of the Batley Townswomen’s Guild would re-enact various historical events, including the Battle of Pearl Harbor and the first heart transplant—re-enactments that largely consisted of the women rolling around in the mud and whapping each other with purses. “The Lottery” is an allegorical short story by Shirley Jackson about a lottery held in a small town to determine which of the town’s residents is to be stoned to death.
Hi, Jehovah’s monsters. Please take a Watchmonster.
The Watchtower is the official magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, an apocalyptic Christian sect known for proselytizing door to door.
Carnival of coeds.
Carnival of Souls was a 1962 horror flick that starred Candace Hilligloss as the sole survivor of a deadly car accident.
I’m heavy, right? Sorry. I pigged out on Haagen-Dazs.
Häagen-Dazs is a super-premium brand of ice cream that became popular in the 1980s.
Archie Rice is the main character in The Entertainer, a 1960 film starring revered British actor Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), re-creating his stage role as a third-rate performer in a failing show at a dying seaside resort.
Archibald Cox (1912-2004) was a Harvard law professor who in 1973 was appointed the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. When he insisted on unrestricted access to Oval Office recordings, an irate President Richard Nixon demanded that his attorney general, Elliot Richardson, fire Cox. Richardson resigned rather than comply, as did his second-in-command. The third-ranking officer in the Justice Department, Robert Bork (later to become famous as an unsuccessful Supreme Court nominee) finally carried out the firing. The showdown became known as the “Saturday night massacre,” and as a result more than a million telegrams demanding that Nixon be impeached poured into Congress. Cox’s firing did little good, as his replacement, Leon Jaworski, also insisted on getting the tapes, and ultimately prevailed. Shortly after the release of the tapes, Nixon resigned rather than face certain impeachment in the House of Representatives.
Oh, my goodness, is Abby running “Please, God, I’m Only 17!” again?
“Please, God, I’m Only 17!” is a cautionary essay about the dangers of reckless driving that was reprinted seemingly every other week in both the “Dear Abby” and “Ann Landers” newspaper advice columns. It dates back to at least the 1970s.
This scene alone is better than the whole movie Newsies.
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 not a success, although it has since gained a cult following on TV and DVD.
[Sung.] Cities Service is Citgo now/Zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom, Citgo zoom!
In 1965, petroleum company Cities Service introduced its new trade name, Citgo, with a quickly famous jingle: “Zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom, Citgo zoom/We've changed it to something with zoom/Watch our zoom, we'll show you how/Cities Service is Citgo now.” Today Citgo is owned by the government of Venezuela.
An imitation of bumbling Marine Gomer Pyle (played by Jim Nabors) on the TV series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
You want your Dick Butkus collectible mug?
Dick Butkus was a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1965 to 1973, considered by many the greatest linebacker ever to grace the sport of football.
Wow, Herald Square!
Herald Square is more of a triangle, really, at the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue, and 34th Street in New York City, just south of Times Square. It is named after the New York Herald newspaper, which used to be headquartered there.
You know what that tire’s favorite opera is? Die Fledermaus.
Die Fledermaus is an operetta composed by Johann Strauss and first performed in 1874. It is a comic tale of mistaken identities at a masked ball.
Extra footage supplied by Zapruder.
In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, a local clothing manufacturer named Abraham Zapruder brought his home video camera to film the motorcade procession. His is the only film record of the assassination and was extensively used by the Warren Commission in its investigation of the president’s death.
I hope we see Woody Allen while we’re here in New York.
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 adopted daughter of his long-term lover Mia Farrow; Allen and Previn married in 1997. He is a longtime resident of New York, and many of his films are set there.
I just saw Rent!
Rent is a highly successful Broadway musical that debuted in 1996. Written by Jonathan Larson, it depicts the lives of a group of struggling young artists in New York City. It is noteworthy for being one of the first mainstream Broadway shows to feature a sexually and ethnically diverse cast.
They’re headed to the Laverne De Fazio convention.
Laverne De Fazio was one of the main characters, along with Shirley Feeney, on the TV sitcom Laverne & Shirley, which aired from 1976-1983; the part was played by Penny Marshall.
Sounds like the opening percussion to the Olympics theme.
The Olympics have had a number of different opening themes, including the 1984 one written by John Williams of Star Wars fame. The theme referred to here is probably “Bugler’s Dream” by Leo Arnaud, which begins with a timpani cadence. This theme was used by television networks to open their Olympics coverage for many years.
“Sounds like somebody big walking in mud.” Joe Don Baker?
Joe Don Baker is a beefy, Southern-fried actor known to MSTies as the much-abused star of Show 512, Mitchell. As Kevin Murphy writes in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide, “Joe Don Baker hates us, and wishes us all dead, and if he met any one of us and knew who we were, he would probably take a swing, miss by a mile, spill his drink all over his rented arm-candy escort, and fall backward into the hors d’oeuvre table. Well, bring him on, I say, we’re ready for him.”
So this is the touring company of Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean.
Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean is a 1981 play by Ed Graczyk about the members of a James Dean fan club. The play was unsuccessful, but the 1982 film version is credited with revitalizing the career of its star, Cher.
It’s just those famous Mexican walking catfish.
The walking catfish (Clarius batrachus) is actually native to Southeast Asia. Its walk is more of a wiggle; the catfish prefers to live in stagnant ponds, which often dry up, at which point the fish “walks” to another body of water. The species was introduced to Florida in the 1960s and has rapidly become a nuisance, invading fisheries and munching on the stock.
“There’s that fishy smell again.” Could it be Babe Winkelman?
Babe Winkelman is a TV outdoorsman, for years the host of Good Fishing (angling, etc.) and Outdoor Secrets (hunting and conservation).
Tonight on Roar!
Roar was a short-lived 1997 TV series about a young man in 400 B.C.E. Britain who sets out to rid his homeland of the Roman invaders. It starred a very young Heath Ledger.
It’s my Oscar Gamble doll.
Oscar Gamble was an outfielder in the 1970s who played for 17 seasons on seven different teams, including the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. He sported a distinctive bushy Afro until Yankees management made him prune it; he then switched to a mullet.
“One of them zombies.” Al Gore?
Al Gore is a Democratic politician who served as the vice president of the United States under Bill Clinton from 1992-2000. He ran for president in 2000 but lost the disputed election to George W. Bush thanks to a 5-4 Supreme Court decision. He has often been mocked for his stiff manner.
She’s got Dilbert’s boss’s hair.
“Dilbert” is a comic strip about the foibles of working in an office; it has been published since 1989 and is one of the most successful comic strips of its time. In the strip, the nameless boss, referred to as the “pointy-haired boss,” has a bizarre hairstyle somewhat resembling that of Bozo the Clown.
How’d you like to take a drive down Long Street?
Probably a reference to the TV show Longstreet (see above note).
Okay, here we go! [Sung.] Mmm-bop, dingy-dingy-dingy-dop mmm-bop ooo be-be-be-be-be bop …
A line (sort of) from the smash hit song “MMMBop,” by pop group Hanson. The song hit number one around the globe in 1997. Sample lyrics: “When you get old and start losing your hair/Can you tell me who will still care?/Can you tell me who will still care? Oh care/MMMBop, ba duba dop ba do bop/Ba duba dop ba do bop/Ba duba dop ba do. Oh yeah.”
“How about, mmm …” Bop.
See previous note.
Margaret Chase Smith, running for Senate, I’d like your vote.
Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995) was the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She represented Maine in Congress for thirty-two years, earning national attention when she denounced Senator Joe McCarthy’s witch hunt for Communists in the 1950s.
Scanners is a 1981 horror flick by David Cronenberg about a group of people with terrifying telekinetic powers; it starred Jennifer O’Neill and Stephen Lack.
See note on Hardware Hank, above.
Thanks for the free Funyuns.
Funyuns are a brand of onion-flavored snack chips, which resemble onion rings. They are manufactured by Frito-Lay.
They’re using their Flintstone voices.
The animated TV series The Flintstones aired from 1960-1966. A prehistoric take on The Honeymooners, it starred the voice talents of Alan Reed (as patriarch Fred Flintstone) and Mel Blanc (Fred’s pal Barney Rubble). The show was the first prime-time animated hit.
Baby Bop’s a prowler.
Baby Bop is a small dinosaur who appears on the kiddie TV show Barney & Friends, which airs on PBS.
It’s Steve Allen! Don’t get in!
Steve Allen (1921-2000) was the original host of the Tonight Show, appearing from 1953 to 1957.
After the King verdict, monsters looted boutiques.
In 1991, motorist Rodney King was viciously beaten by Los Angeles police officers. The beating was videotaped and caused an enormous outcry among the public. In the subsequent trial, held in sheltered Simi Valley, the officers were acquitted on charges of excessive force, and the verdict touched off a devastating riot in Los Angeles.
This proves it. Worms play pinochle on your snout.
“The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out/They play pinochle on your snout” is an old folk song popular among children; it dates back to the 19th century.
Monty Hall and Bruno Hauptmann stopped by.
Monty Hall was the host on the long-running TV game show Let’s Make a Deal, which aired from 1963-1977; he also served as its producer. Bruno Hauptmann (1899-1936) was a German-born carpenter who in 1935 was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the infant son of famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. The baby had been taken from his room three years earlier; a ransom was paid, but the child had been killed shortly after the abduction and his body dumped in the woods near his home. Hauptmann was arrested after he passed one of the ransom notes, and a large amount of the ransom money was found in his house. He claimed he was merely holding the money for a friend—the real kidnapper—but was convicted and executed the following year.
Uh, the Beatles!
The Beatles were a staggeringly influential British rock band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They produced a lengthy string of number one hits, inspired countless bands, caused riots among female teenage fans, annoyed the Establishment, and generally set the stage for the rock & roll revolution of the 1960s.
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a Roman Catholic nun and the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, an order dedicated to helping the poor, particularly in India. She began working with the poor in Calcutta in 1928. In 1979 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; in 2003, six years after her death, she was beatified (the first step toward awarding her sainthood).
Obi-Wan Kenobi is a character from the 1977 sci-fi film Star Wars. The part was played by Alec Guinness (1914-2000). In the later trilogy of films that began with The Phantom Menace, he was portrayed as a younger man by Ewan McGregor.
Leon Spinks was a professional boxer in the late 1970s; his win over reigning champion Muhammad Ali for the World Heavyweight Championship in 1978 is considered one of sports’ historic upsets. Ali regained the title in a rematch seven months later, and Spinks never really came back from the loss, although he continued to fight throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s.
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 Parthenon restaurant in Chicago, Christos Liakouras, claims credit for inventing the tradition.
This is the reality of Northwest Airlines’ “mechanical problems.”
Northwest Airlines was a passenger airline based in Minneapolis-St. Paul; it merged with Delta in 2008. For some reason, the writers really had a hate on for this airline, and they insulted it mercilessly every chance they got.
We can listen to our Foster Brooks books on tape.
Foster Brooks (1912-2001) was a comedian known for a schtick in which he impersonated a drunk. Although Brooks had struggles with alcohol, he gave up drinking entirely in 1964—but continued to milk the routine for decades.
It’s odd that MADD would invest in this movie.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to stamping out drunk driving. It was founded in 1980 by a California woman whose 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver.
You got Chrysler on my Chevrolet! –You got Chevrolet on my Chrysler!
An imitation of the television ads for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that aired during the 1980s: “You got peanut butter on my chocolate! No, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!”
In the Bible, Beelzebub is referred to as the prince of the devils. In the Old Testament, Beelzebub is the name given to the god worshiped by the Philistine city Ekron (II Kings 1:1-18).
Uncle Ponto is a demonic force that periodically possesses and harasses a man called “Jimsie” throughout his life in one of the “true” tales from the book Hostage to the Devil: The Possession and Exorcism of Five Contemporary Americans, by the theologian Malachi Martin.
Let’s go over to Michael Irvin’s place.
Michael Irvin was a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys from 1988-1999. In 1996 police broke up his 30th birthday party, discovering cocaine, marijuana, and two topless dancers. Irvin allegedly threatened one of the strippers; her boyfriend was later arrested for attempting to have Irvin killed. Irvin ultimately pleaded no contest to cocaine possession and was sentenced to probation and community service.
Ted Kennedy and Bishop John Roach.
See note on Ted Kennedy, above. Kennedy’s longtime relationship with alcohol has been the subject of much speculation and joking. John Roach (1921-2003) was the bishop and later the archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul from 1975-1995. In 1985 he pleaded guilty to charges of driving drunk.
I think I hear Oberon!
Oberon is the king of the fairies in the William Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The shenanigans of the plot begin when Oberon decides to teach his estranged wife a lesson using a love potion.
Otis of Mayberry had a quiet dignity compared to these guys.
Otis Campbell was the town drunk on the TV sitcom The Andy Griffith Show, which aired from 1960-1968. The part was played by Hal Smith.
Vladimir and Estragon—the sitcom.
Vladimir and Estragon are the two tramps waiting for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s absurdist play Waiting for Godot (1952).
“Their lights are on.” Must be Tom Bodett.
In 1986, the Motel 6 chain began running a series of commercials featuring Tom Bodett that used the tagline “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The campaign proved phenomenally successful, running for 15 years.
They’re AA and Triple A.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a self-help system for alcoholics that relies on a twelve-step program and the support of other alcoholics to help people quit drinking. It was founded in 1935 by a stockbroker and a surgeon. By the end of the 20th century, AA had about 2 million members, most of them in the United States and Canada. Triple A, a.k.a. the American Automobile Association (AAA) is an organization providing roadside assistance and other travel services to its members (roughly 45 million at last count).
Dead man breathing!
“Dead man walking” is a phrase used to describe a death-row prisoner on his way to his execution. The phrase was used as the title of a book by Sister Helen Prejean, an anti-death penalty activist; the book has since been turned into a play, a movie, and an opera.
[Sung.] Guy without a face … Got no human face …
A paraphrase of the Billy Idol song “Eyes Without a Face.” Actual lyrics: “Eyes without a face/Got no human grace/Your eyes without a face …”
[Sung.] Oompa-loompa doopity doo/I’ve got another riddle for you …
A line from the “Ooompa-Loompa Song” in the 1971 movie musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, based on the Roald Dahl children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Oompa-Loompas are diminutive men who work in the candy factory and spontaneously burst into song at odd moments. Sample lyrics: “Oompa loompa doompety doo/I've got a perfect puzzle for you/Oompa loompa doompety dee/If you are wise you'll listen to me.”
Refers to a famous line from the Peter Falk/Alan Arkin movie The In-Laws: “Serpentine, Sheldon, serpentine!”
The monsters win the pennant! The monsters win the pennant! The monsters win the pennant!
An imitation of sports broadcaster Russ Hodges’s famous cry at the end of the Giants-Dodgers tiebreaker game for the National League championship in 1951. Bobby Thomson hit a home run at the very end of the game, sparking Hodges’s heartfelt outburst: “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!”
Authorities don’t know Shinola from that other stuff.
Shinola was a brand of shoe polish popular in the first half of the 20th century. The expression “Doesn’t know shit from Shinola” became popular in the World War II era, used to denote a hopelessly clueless individual.
Now, only two of you will actually get to meet McGruff.
McGruff the Crime Dog is the spokescreature for the National Crime Prevention Council, who teaches children how to stay safe.
McHale? Your water’s dirty, McHale.
McHale’s Navy was a TV sitcom about a group of bumbling misfits aboard a PT boat in World War II. It starred Ernest Borgnine as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale. The show aired from 1962-1966.
They found the monster’s Caprice wagon!
The Chevrolet Caprice line of cars, manufactured by GM, was quite popular during the 1970s and 1980s. The station wagon iteration was introduced in the early 1980s and manufactured until 1996, when the line was dropped in favor of the increasingly popular SUVs. Caprices were the car of choice for police departments and cab companies for years.
Have you tried throwing Campbell’s soup? That’s got a lot of sodium in it.
The Campbell’s Soup Company is a manufacturer of canned condensed soups, founded in 1869. It sells nearly 2.5 billion cans of soup per year, with its most popular flavors being chicken noodle, cream of mushroom, and tomato. Like most other brands of canned soup, Campbell’s has relatively high levels of sodium, but its Healthy Request and Low Sodium lines offer reduced-sodium options.
“I’ll be there in about an hour.” We’ll have your glasses ready too.
LensCrafters is a chain of eyeglass stores founded in 1983; it promises its clients that their glasses will be ready in “about an hour.”
Oh, the Ancient Sodium Empire exhibit at the Met—he’s in luck.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art—a.k.a. the Met—is an art museum in New York City, and is considered one of the most important art museums in the world. Its holdings amount to more than 2 million works of art, including pieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Durer, and Van Gogh. It was founded in 1872.
Hey, where’s the Wonderbra ad?
The Wonderbra is a push-up bra first introduced in 1994; it quickly became one of the best-selling bra lines of all time. When it was introduced in the United States in May 1994, it was promoted with an enormous billboard in Times Square that featured supermodel Eva Herzigova wearing only the bra, an ad that sparked some controversy at the time.
And down to Greenwich Village, for no reason.
Greenwich Village is a residential area located on the southern part of the island of Manhattan. It was originally founded by Dutch settlers in the 17th century and was gradually absorbed by the city of New York as it expanded. It is known for its artists, its rebels, and its bohemian lifestyle.
From the song “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris.
And the Woolworth’s lunch counter? Not that great—don’t bother.
In February 1960, black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina, began a series of peaceful protests in which they sat at a segregated lunch counter in a Woolworth’s and refused to leave even though they were denied service. Others, including white students, soon joined them. The protesters dressed nicely, behaved respectfully and with dignity, and generally stymied the stores’ efforts to make them disperse. Eventually the “sit-ins” spread to 78 cities and involved 50,000 protesters; as a result, many stores desegregated their lunch counters. The sit-ins continued in some areas until the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The sit-in has since become a standard tactic for non-violent protestors.
Resusci-Annie drives to her next demonstration.
Resusci-Annie is a realistic mannequin that has been used to train people to perform CPR since 1960. Her face is based on the death mask of a young drowning victim pulled from the Seine in France in the late 19th century. Since her identity was never established, romantic stories circulated in which she threw herself into the river due to unrequited love, and copies of her death mask became a popular decoration throughout Europe.
In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward (1801-1872) clinched a deal to buy the territory of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. The deal was referred to by his critics as “Seward’s Folly”; they mocked him for spending so much money on an “icebox.” Getting the deal through Congress was another battle; the Senate ratified the treaty by just one vote. But in the late 1890s, gold was discovered in Alaska (and, later, oil), putting an end to the carping. In 1959 Alaska became the 50th state.
Finian’s Rainbow is a musical about an Irishman and his daughter in the American South, and the antics of a leprechaun bent on reclaiming his pot of gold. It debuted on Broadway in 1947; in 1968 a movie version, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was produced, to mixed reviews.
Studs Lonigan is a 1935 trilogy of books about a Chicago youth’s journey to manhood; the books were written by James T. Farrell. Hailed as a great work of literature on par with Hemingway on their release, the books are rarely read today.
Still time to get to my match with Krajicek.
Richard Krajicek is a Dutch pro tennis player best known for his upset victory over Pete Sampras in the 1996 Wimbledon tournament.
Bigfoot, a.k.a. the Sasquatch, is a legendary ape-like creature supposed to haunt the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. What is generally considered the best evidence for its existence—a blurry film taken in 1967—has recently been debunked as a hoax, but the debate rages on.
She’s wearing her Eddie Bauer rugged hiking skirt. Fully lined.
Eddie Bauer is an upscale chain of outdoor clothing stores found in shopping malls everywhere.
I’m meeting the Lady of the Lake for brunch.
The Lady of the Lake is a figure in Arthurian legend. Traditionally she is the foster mother of Sir Lancelot; however, she is better remembered for presenting Arthur with Excalibur. She is also traditionally one of the women who escorted the mortally wounded Arthur to Avalon, and in some versions she is the lover of Merlin. The myth probably derives from a Celtic water goddess.
I visited the U.N., I had a nice lunch with U Thant.
U Thant (1909-1974) was a Burmese diplomat who served as the Secretary General of the United Nations from 1961 to 1971. He established many of the U.N.’s developmental and environmental agencies and was praised for his work in helping to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis. He fell out with the U.S. government when he criticized that country’s handling of the Vietnam War, but he ended his third term as a highly respected diplomat.
[Hummed.] “Mrs. Robinson.”
This is the tune to “Mrs. Robinson,” a song written for the soundtrack to The Graduate (1967) and performed by Simon & Garfunkel.
A bass down there needs Beano real bad.
Beano is a product that uses natural enzymes to break down the substances that can cause flatulence when you take it before a meal containing beans or other gas-producing foods.
Eurasian milfoil is an aquatic plant introduced to this country in the 1940s; it was once commonly used as a decorative plant in aquariums. Since it escaped into the wild, it has become a nuisance plant, invading waterways and disrupting the ecosystems of lakes.
Uh-oh, she has her foot caught in … the rock!
See note on The Rock, above.
Gettysburg. The … oh, wait, Fingle’s Quarry.
The Battle of Gettysburg took place during the U.S. Civil War. Fought in 1863, it is considered the turning point of the war, the point at which the Union Army turned back the Confederate offensive into Pennsylvania. Some 50,000 soldiers on both sides were killed. Gettysburg is also the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg adress, in which he said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
He could have used some Hormel chili or some Dinty Moore—there’s a lot of sodium in that.
Hormel is a food conglomerate, makers of the famous Spam. They also manufacture several varieties of canned chili, including turkey and vegetarian chili. Dinty Moore is a brand of canned beef stew, also manufactured by Hormel.
Cookie! Me want cookie!
See note on the Cookie Monster, above.
Dad, I want to go to Vassar.
Vassar College, founded in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1861, was one of the first liberal arts colleges for women. It was long considered one of the preeminent women’s colleges in the United States; now, coeducational since 1969, it is still highly regarded as an academic institution.
[Sung.] Bosco puts hustle in your muscle/Bosco puts wee in your knee …
“Bosco puts hustle in your muscle” is an old advertising jingle for Bosco brand chocolate syrup.
Bosco puts a dash in your eyelash!
See previous note.
Oh, hi, Dad’s getting killed. Hey, did you get to MoMA?
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was founded in 1929 as a showcase for modern and experimental art. Among its 150,000 holdings are works by Gauguin, Matisse, Duchamp, and O’Keeffe.
Heh-heh-heh. Siddown, Gomer.
See note on Gomer Pyle, above.
Wait! I come in peace! I am the good … oh! Ow!
A reference to The Day the Earth Stood Still, a 1951 sci-fi movie about a benevolent alien who comes to Earth, only to find himself the target of hatred and suspicion from the military and government. “I come in peace” is the line Klaatu speaks shortly before being shot by a soldier.
Aahhh! My Richard Pryor impression!
In 1980, standup comedian Richard Pryor (1940-2005) was badly burned while trying to freebase cocaine. He suffered third-degree burns over his entire upper body, and doctors gave him only a 50/50 shot at survival. But he did survive, and by all accounts emerged from the ordeal a changed man, giving up drugs and going on to enjoy a successful standup and film career.
Guest appearance by Commissioner Gordon.
Commissioner James Gordon is Batman’s contact in the Gotham Police Department in the Batman series of comic books, the man in charge of flashing the Bat Signal. His daughter, Barbara Gordon, is also known as Batgirl.
Now they’ve got Gyuto monks. –Great!
The Gyuto monks are a group of Buddhist monks. Exiles from their homeland of Tibet, they now live in a monastery in India and have released a number of recordings of traditional Buddhist chants that have garnered worldwide acclaim.
And oh how they danced, the little children of Stonehenge.
A line from the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap.
Where’s Shelby Foote when you need him?
Shelby Foote (1916-2005) was the nation’s preeminent historian of the Civil War. His magnum opus—the three-volume, 1.2 million-word The Civil War: A Narrative—is considered the definitive account of that conflict. He came to the attention of a broader audience in 1990 when he was featured in Ken Burns’s monumental documentary The Civil War. Foote died in 2005 at the age of 88.
Well, 914 Long Street, this is the place.
Probably a reference to Longstreet; see above note.
Any news from the Northern War of Aggression, Eulabelle?
The War of Northern Agression is the term used by some Southerners to describe the U.S. Civil War.
She’s dressed like Colonel Sanders.
Colonel Harland Sanders (1890-1980) was the man who, in 1940, came up with the famous “original recipe” and founded Kentucky Fried Chicken. He died in 1980.
How are you, my darling? I’m back from Bull Run.
The Bull Run River in Virginia was the site of two battles during the Civil War: the First Battle of Bull Run (fought in 1861) and the Second Battle of Bull Run (1862). The Confederate Army won both battles.
Eric Roberts voodoo doll.
Eric Roberts is an 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. But he has appeared in more than 150 other movies and television shows.
The music’s coming from inside the radio!
“The call is coming from inside the house!” is a line from the 1979 film When a Stranger Calls, about a babysitter being stalked by a serial killer.
They all just got off their shift at Rax.
Rax is a chain of fast-food restaurants based in Columbus, Ohio, selling roast beef sandwiches, hamburgers, and the like.
Buddy Holly will sue …
Buddy Holly (1936-1959) was a rock & roll musician during the 1950s. He was tremendously influential on other artists, including the Beatles, but he was killed in a plane crash, along with Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, while on tour in 1959.