910: The Final Sacrifice
by Chris Baumgartner
Well me, I don’t give a Flying Dutchman about this production.
The Flying Dutchman is a famous ghost ship that haunts the seas off the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa). The cape is also known as “Shipwreck Coast,” and the Flying Dutchman is claimed to have lured many ships to their doom.
[Hummed.] Twin Peaks theme.
Tom is imitating the atmospheric theme to the cult TV series Twin Peaks that played over a shot of pine trees and mountains in the Pacific Northwest in the show's opening credits. The show only lasted for two seasons (1990-1991), but it inspired an outrageously devoted following.
He’s checking his Bioré strip.
Bioré is a brand of skin-care products manufactured by the Kao Corporation; the best-known product is the Bioré pore strip, an adhesive strip designed to remove blackheads.
Ray Davies was the songwriter and lead singer for the British band The Kinks. The Kinks were huge in the 1960s, with hits like “You Really Got Me Going” and “Lola.” Ray also had a long solo career punctuated by occasional Kinks reunions.
Bigfoot for Wrangler relaxed fit.
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 been debunked as a hoax, but the debate rages on. Wrangler is a brand of western-style jeans originally marketed to cowboys.
Randy Bachman is being pursued by sadomasochists.
Canadian Randy Bachman was the lead guitarist and songwriter for The Guess Who (“American Woman”) and Bachman-Turner Overdrive (“You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”), both of which were hugely successful bands. Bachman was a Mormon, and his religious views, family devotion, and health concerns eventually caused him to part ways with the hard-living rock groups. He now plays the rock revival circuit with his elderly band mates (and has since left the Mormon church).
No fair, guys, I lost my Moon Boots.
Moon Boots are a brand of Italian-made nylon snow boots bearing the words “Moon Boot” in giant gaudy lettering. They come in lots of primary colors, which make them good for people who like to color-coordinate their winter garb. They run about $90 a pair. Moon Boots were hugely fashionable throughout the 1980s.
Nobody leaves the World Wrestling Federation.
The Organization Formerly Known as the World Wrestling Federation (until they lost a cage match with the World Wildlife Fund over their conflicting acronyms) is the pro wrestling league behind the television shows Raw and Smackdown, Wrestlemania pay-per-view, live wrestling tours, and umpteen other wrestling-intensive franchises. They are now known as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Canadian rules football is much different.
Canadian rules football differs quite a bit from U.S. football. Notable differences are field size (larger), team size (larger), on-side kicks (valid), and the general timing of the game.
Beethoven’s Fifth just can’t get started here.
It took Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) more than four years to complete his Symphony No. 5. It is considered a masterpiece, yet very approachable to people with no musical background. Its four-note opening motif is familiar even to those who have never heard the full work.
Go away, Shane. Go away.
Shane is a 1953 Western starring Alan Ladd as a retired gunfighter who unwillingly gets drawn into a range war. The line “Shane! Come back, Shane!” is uttered by little Joey as Shane rides off at the end of the film.
This is where they get all the stuff to put in TGI Fridays.
TGI Fridays is a chain of bar/restaurants nationwide known for its “antique clutter” decorating scheme.
How many geeks does it take to screw in a light bulb? –How many? –I don’t know. That’s why I’m asking.
How many geeks does it take to screw in a light bulb? RTFM. (One version of the ubiquitous light bulb joke, at least; there are others.)
This scene was lit by an Itty Bitty Book Light.
The original Itty Bitty Book Light was made by startup company Zelco in 1976. The light is made to clip to the binding of a book, giving just enough light to read the pages without disturbing others.
I don’t care if I’m too old. I’m getting my Batman pajamas back out of here.
Batman (secret identity Bruce Wayne) is one of the world’s most famous superheroes, created in 1939 by artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger.
Now I’m going to settle in with the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon is the spiritual canon for followers of Mormonism, a religious sect founded by a New York treasure hunter named Joseph Smith (1805-1844). Smith claimed the contents of the book were given to him via a supernatural experience with an angel named Moroni. It was published in 1830, when Andrew Jackson was president, and became the basis for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which currently boasts about fourteen million adherents.
Larry Csonka was a huge 6’3” running back, and one of the toughest rushing fullbacks to play the sport of football. He was part of a famous 1970s-era Miami Dolphin lineup under head coach Don Shula. He went to three Super Bowls and won two of them, and had an undefeated season in 1972.
And I will be the one, to hold Larry Csonka down, kiss him so hard. I’ll take Larry Csonka’s breath away …
See previous note on Larry Csonka. Also a reference to the 1993 song “Possession” by Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan, which has the lyrics “And I would be the one/To hold you down/Kiss you so hard/I’ll take your breath away …”
He’s working on his Bud Cort scrapbook.
Bud Cort is an actor with an extremely boyish face. He tended to play young, innocent, quirky characters in movies such as MASH, Brewster McCloud (both 1970), and Harold and Maude (1971).
I know. I’ll call pretending I’m Bob Griese.
Bob Griese led the Miami Dolphins as their All-American star quarterback during the time Larry Csonka played for them (see above note). He went on to a lengthy career as a sports broadcaster covering college football, beginning in the 1980s.
No wonder Dad lost his money—he invested in Lemon Mines.
According to legend, in 1870 two gold prospectors, Frank Lemon and a man named Blackjack, struck it rich in the Rockies in Alberta, Canada. But they quarreled over whether they should try to mine the gold then or return in the spring, and in a fit of rage Lemon murdered his partner with an ax. Driven mad with guilt, Lemon fled and was never able to find the mine again. The lost Lemon Mine has remained a mystery to this day; no one has succeeded in locating it, and some believe it never existed.
Here it is. Transcripts from the Spassky-Kasparov match of ‘82.
Boris Spassky was the world chess champion from 1969-1972, losing his crown to Bobby Fischer in one of the most famous chess matches in history. Garry Kasparov holds the distinction of being the youngest world chess champion, winning the title in 1985 at the ripe old age of twenty-two (Spassky was thirty-two when he claimed the championship). Spassky’s 1982 matches were actually played against Anatoly Karpov, however, not Kasparov; his matchups with the latter came in 1988 and 1989. (He lost to both players.)
Oh, he’s a Pipper. Wouldn’t you like to be a … –No, no.
Dr Pepper ran ad campaigns in the late 1970s featuring celebs like David Naughton (An American Werewolf in London) and Ray Bolger (Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz). Their jingle was “I’m a pepper, he’s a pepper, she’s a pepper, we’re a pepper, wouldn’t you like to be a pepper too?”
So it’s near a Ponderosa Steakhouse.
Ponderosa is a chain of reasonably priced steakhouses with a western theme, similar to Bonanza and Sizzler.
See above note.
Man, there is an amazing number of Csonkas.
See above note.
I’d better get to reading my X-Men comics.
X-Men is a wildly successful comic book franchise from Marvel Comics. It was created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and has spawned some twenty separate comic series, a successful string of movies, and several TV series. An overused plot device in the comics is the idea that society is prejudiced against the X-Men because they are mutants.
Well, Larry, I guess I better get going. Say hello to Jim Kiick for me.
Larry Csonka and fellow Dolphins running back Jim Kiick were nicknamed “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” Kiick and Csonka hung together (they're both on the Sports Illustrated cover shown above; Csonka is the one giving the finger to the camera) and had quite a reputation for raising hell. In 1974 they both quit the NFL and joined the fledgling World Football League, a stunning decision that proved a short-lived detour, as the league folded the following year. Kiick returned to the NFL to play with the Denver Broncos for a couple of seasons before retiring for good.
On the TV show Seinfeld (1989-1998), George Costanza’s mother Estelle was played by Estelle Harris, a dumpy actress with a frighteningly shrill voice. She also starred in Toy Story 2 and 3 as Mrs. Potato Head.
Leave me alone, Ma, I’m starting a software company.
This is an allusion to the less-than-robust multibillionaire founders of Apple and Microsoft, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (respectively). Jobs was a college dropout who converted to Buddhism and experimented with LSD; Gates scored 1590 out of 1600 on the SAT, spent two years at Harvard, then dropped out to start Microsoft. Both made billions in the computer industry. Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in 2011.
Al Lewis as Grandma.
Al Lewis (1923-2006) was an actor who is best known for his portrayal of Grandpa Munster on the TV show The Munsters, which aired from 1964-1966. He had worked with Fred Gwynne (who played family patriarch Herman Munster) previously on Car 54, Where Are You? (1961-1963).
Man, now my room stinks of Youth-Dew.
Youth-Dew was Estée Lauder’s first scent, introduced in 1953 as a bath oil that functioned as a perfume. In its first year on the market, Youth-Dew sold fifty thousand bottles; by 1984 it was selling 150 million bottles.
MVP, Super Bowl VIII, for Miami.
Larry Csonka was in fact MVP for Super Bowl VIII, played in 1974.
That’s enough trees for the spotted owl, isn’t it?
The spotted owl controversy is a touchstone of environmental debate on the pros and cons of land use vs. preserving the environment. In 1991, a federal court controversially banned logging on public lands in the Pacific Northwest to protect an endangered species of owl. It saved the owl, but the precedent triggered endless litigation over any species that could be used as a means to hold up land development.
Free pictures of Brian Mulroney with fill-up.
Brian Mulroney was the 18th prime minister of Canada, from 1984-1993.
Canada is for lovers.
“Virginia is for lovers” has been the official state travel slogan for the state of Virginia since 1969.
If you lived here, you’d be in hell by now.
“If you lived here, you’d be home by now” is a familiar advertising slogan for apartment complexes on banners and billboards, usually put up facing freeways so that tired commuters could ponder the message as they sat in a traffic jam on their way home.
Check out the Linc Hayes topiary.
Linc Hayes (played by Clarence Williams III) was one of the young, hip narcs on The Mod Squad (1968-1973). He had a large afro and often wore dark sunglasses.
Hitchcock’s Parade of Homes.
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was a portly British director, best known for his groundbreaking suspense films and his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955-1965). The Parade of Homes is a local display of high-end homes available for tours, often showcasing the builders who made them.
He just finished his exhaustive, four-volume biography of Larry Csonka.
See above note.
Of course, the clock’s set to Miami time.
See above note on Larry Csonka.
Called in for the night shift. Apparently Aunty never got laid off after the war.
During World War II, the need for men to fight caused a huge labor shortage at home, so women were called in to fill the gap. This was the era of “Rosie the Riveter,” the face of a propaganda campaign launched by the U.S. government to lure women out of the home and into the workplace. Women already made up a quarter of the workforce, but by the end of the war that number was up to one-third, many of those jobs in traditionally male-dominated fields such as manufacturing. However, once the fighting ended and the men returned home, they wanted their jobs back; the women were summarily fired and told to return to their homes and their husbands. Most of them did, but they had put the first cracks in the wall, and their daughters and granddaughters broke it down completely.
Why did he put a LaserDisc in the refrigerator?
Home video aficionados know the LaserDisc. It was launched way back in 1978 and provided the highest-quality (pre-DVD) digital movies on an LP-sized optical disc. There are still Internet shops offering LaserDiscs for sale, with thousands of titles to choose from.
Hey! El Santo!
Masked man El Santo (or Samson, as he is known in the English versions of his films) was a famous Mexican wrestler for decades. His real name was Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta (1917-1984). In the 1960s and '70s he starred in a series of movies in which he bravely wrestled various incarnations of evil into submission. He can be seen in Show 624, Samson vs. the Vampire Women. He died of a heart attack in 1984 and was buried in his mask.
Let’s see if there’s any Larry Csonka movies on tonight.
Larry Csonka has five acting credits to his name: Snake Eater, Midway, and several TV guest spots, in which he usually plays football players (including one named Larry Bronco).
Cold Crazy Bread. Really is crazy.
Crazy Bread is a popular appetizer sold by Little Caesars Pizza. It is pizza dough that is cut into fat, soft breadsticks and covered with garlic spread and Parmesan cheese.
Wait. I haven’t read Tolkien in almost a week.
J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) wrote the fantasy epics The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
The script was punched up by Harpo Marx.
Arthur Adolph “Harpo” Marx (1888-1964) was the second oldest of the brothers in the classic comedy team the Marx Brothers, who were popular on stage and screen for thirty years. Dressed in a reddish curly wig and a trench coat, Harpo never spoke on film but performed wonderful pantomime, and played the harp.
Ah. A Yanni song’s about to begin.
Yanni is a Greek new age keyboardist known for his floating instrumental compositions combining synth and orchestra, and his drooping mustache. He often uses wind chimes in his songs.
What would Coach Don Shula do?
Don Shula was the coach of the Miami Dolphins during Larry Csonka’s tenure there.
It’s his Michael Feinstein signature bat.
Michael Feinstein is a cabaret piano player and singer. His style is show tunes, jazz standards, and ballads. He married his longtime partner, Terrence Flannery, in California in 2008. A signature bat is issued by a baseball team to commemorate a great player. The player’s signature is etched into the head of the bat.
The McCullochs are here.
McCulloch is a brand of home gardening power tools such as chain saws, wood chippers, tractors, and snow blowers.
Canadian villain “Garth” Vader.
Darth Vader was the primary villain in the original trilogy of Star Wars films. He began life as Anakin Skywalker, a student of Obi-Wan Kenobi who was corrupted by the Dark Side of the Force. The man in the suit was most often Welsh bodybuilder David Prowse; his voice was provided by James Earl Jones.
Jessie “The Body” Ventura dubbed his voice.
Meaty-voiced Jesse Ventura (a.k.a. Jim Janos) was a U.S. Navy Seal who served several tours in Vietnam. He took up professional wrestling in the mid-1970s and became a well-known celebrity by the mid-1980s. After that he acted in several Arnold Schwarzenegger blockbusters, including Predator and The Running Man (both 1987). He later went into politics and served as governor of Minnesota from 1999 until 2003.
Wow, Aunty sent her jackbooted thugs to make him lunch.
In 1995, National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre infamously referred to ATF agents as “jackbooted government thugs” in a fundraising letter, a characterization that led former President George H.W. Bush to resign his membership in the organization. LaPierre later apologized for the letter.
Get on the banana seat bike and give chase.
Banana seat bikes were children’s bikes with long seats and high handlebars, popular during the ‘60s. They were meant to look like “chopper” motorcycles.
In my work for a bloodthirsty cult, I depend on my Gran Torino.
The Ford Gran Torino, when packed with a V8, was considered a muscle car. It was made from 1972 until 1976. Starsky and Hutch drove a bright red Gran Torino with a snazzy white stripe. When the show became a hit, Ford made a special limited production run of one thousand cars based on the cop duo’s ride.
I think his menace is undercut by the Baby On Board tag.
The Baby On Board sign was a popular fad in the 1980s. It was a small, yellow sign with a suction cup designed to be hung from the rear window of your car, to alert other drivers of the presence of a child, presumably so that they would think twice before intentionally ramming your car. It was sold by the Canadian-owned Safety 1st company.
Can you imagine how many Potato Olé containers are on the floor of that car?
Potato Olés are a side dish served at Taco John’s fast food restaurants. They are basically tater tots with some salt and south-of-the-border spices dusted on them.
This music is really more suited to plate spinning. Kind of a mazurka.
Plate spinning is a circus act where an acrobat spins plates or other objects balanced on top of long poles, often keeping several going at once. A mazurka is a lively Polish folk dance; Chopin wrote a bunch of ‘em.
Crank the Molly Hatchet and let’s roll!
Molly Hatchet is a Southern rock band that formed in 1975; its hit albums include Flirtin’ with Disaster and Double Trouble Live. Their album covers were paintings by the famous fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, whose work is often identified with Conan the Barbarian books.
Now I have to listen to As It Happens.
As It Happens is a government-produced current events radio show from Canada featuring interviews with people in the news. It began in 1968 and still airs today.
Oh, I love trash, ahhhh oww.
The Sesame Street character Oscar the Grouch lives in an aluminum garbage can. Crow is singing Oscar’s favorite song, “I Love Trash” by Jeff Moss (circa 1969). Oscar’s voice is that of Caroll Spinney, who also performed as Big Bird. Sample lyrics: “Oh, I love trash!/Anything dirty or dingy or dusty/Anything ragged or rotten or rusty/Yes, I love trash.”
Damn you, Pee-wee!
Pee-wee Herman is a child-like character played by comedian Paul Reubens. In the movie Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Pee-wee has his bicycle stolen and spends the film trying to get it back.
Well, let’s just go get some bullwhips and pose for Mapplethorpe.
Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his homoerotic photographs of nude men. In 1990, a planned retrospective of his work at a Washington, D.C., museum was canceled after conservatives kicked up a ruckus over the “pornographic” content of some of the photos, especially those depicting the underground BDSM scene in New York City. (One infamous photo showed him with a bullwhip trailing from his bare bottom.) Because the exhibit was to have been partly funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, it launched a debate over whether the government should be involved in funding art that some taxpayers might find offensive. That same year, the curator of a museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, was arrested on obscenity charges over the exhibit; he was later acquitted.
It sounds like video poker music.
Video poker is a casino game, similar to a slot machine, that allows you to play poker against a computer (and, hopefully, win money). It was introduced in the mid-1970s and has become increasingly popular.
And they take refuge in the Anne Murray National Forest.
Anne Murray is a well-known singer from Canada. She had a big hit in 1970 with “Snowbird.” She can be lumped in with other bland pop singers like Celine Dion, Melissa Manchester, and Barbra Streisand. Her material tends to be mostly covers of popular hits.
I think he’s the Tin Drum kid.
The Tin Drum (1959) by Günter Grass is considered a literary classic. The surreal concept deals with three-year-old Oskar Matzerath, a young boy who consciously decides not to get any older, and his strange life during the hellish stress of World War II in Poland. The Tin Drum was the first novel in Grass’s Danzig Trilogy. It was made into a film in 1979 starring 12-year-old Swiss actor David Bennent as Oskar.
Help me, oh Saint Larry Csonka.
See above note.
Like a (cough) rock.
“Like a Rock” is a song by Bob Seger, initially released in 1986. Chevrolet used the song for more than a decade to market its trucks.
Don't you love our health care system?
Canada has a publicly funded health care system, with doctor’s visits, surgeries, and hospital stays paid for by the government.
I know all the songs from Once Upon a Mattress, though.
Once Upon a Mattress was a 1959 Broadway musical starring Carol Burnett. It was nominated for two Tony Awards. The story is a refresh of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Princess and the Pea.”
Are you going to be a Mountie or a fishing guide when you grow up?
Mounties are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which provide policing duties throughout Canada, both on a national and local level.
He’s wearing fashions by Mac Davis.
Mac Davis is a singer-songwriter from Lubbock, Texas. He started in Nancy Sinatra’s band and then began a solo career. His biggest hit was “Baby, Don’t Get Hooked On Me” in 1972. He had his own TV show and rarely deviated from the denim cowboy look. He starred in North Dallas Forty (1979) with Nick Nolte and Cheaper to Keep Her (1981).
Didn’t Barbara Mandrell have hair like his at one point?
Texas native Barbara Mandrell was a child singer who got to perform with some of the biggest names in country music. She toured with Johnny Cash at the age of twelve. She had a hit with “Midnight Oil” and later her own variety series, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters (1980-1981). Unlike many child stars, Mandrell has enjoyed a long and illustrious career as an adult as well, with a string of Top 10 hits in the '70s and '80s.
Better check this oil here. Yep. 10W-30.
10W-30 is a common multi-grade motor oil.
Buy me anything in there with Larry Csonka on it and I’ll pay for it.
See above note.
And Play is in the front seat.
Kid ‘n Play were a hip-hop duo in the late 1980s. Besides their music careers, they starred in several House Party movies and got their own animated show in the 1990s. Christopher “Kid” Reid had a famously towering “hi-top fade” haircut.
Roll on, big mama, the highway …
“Roll On Big Mama” was a country music hit by Joe Stampley in 1975. The song is about big rig truck driving.
Do they think they’re in Idaho?
Idaho does not require a permit to purchase guns, nor does it require gun owners to register their firearms. It does require a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but it is legal to carry firearms openly without any kind of permit. Idaho is a very large, mostly rural state ranked toward the bottom for gun-related homicides.
This is no time for zymurgy.
Zymurgy, also known as zymology, is the scientific term for fermentation, specifically as it relates to making booze. Home brewing and winemaking are forms of zymurgy.
If this doesn’t work I’ll throw balls of carp dough.
Carp dough, or dough-ball, is a form of fishing bait; suggested ingredients can include grits, creamed corn, molasses, and Jell-O mix. A fishing hook is wrapped in the dough. Carp are bottom feeders and will nibble the ball before swallowing the hook.
Mannix was a television series starring Mike Connors as Joe Mannix, a private eye in Los Angeles who indulged in frequent car chases, shootouts, and fistfights. It aired from 1967-1975.
Yeah, tell it to my acid-washed jeans.
Acid-washed jeans were a fashion hit in the late 1980s. It was a treatment designed to make new jeans look naturally faded. It was not that authentic looking. The process continues today, only now they put rips in the cloth too, and the chemical treatment is less obvious.
They’re from Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan is a province in central Canada that shares its southern border with Montana and North Dakota. It has an area of 227,000 square miles and a population of about 1 million.
They worship blue oysters.
The hard rock band Blue Öyster Cult was moderately popular in the late 1970s. Their biggest hit was “Don’t Fear the Reaper” in 1976. The band was named by the music producer who manufactured them.
Isn’t that a sandwich cookie?
Hydrox sandwich cookies were like Oreos, only not as good. They came out in 1908, a few years ahead of Nabisco’s Oreos; ironically, although they beat the Oreos to market, they later got the reputation of being the knockoff. They were made by the Sunshine company, which is now owned by Kellogg’s. On the cookies’ hundredth anniversary Kellogg’s briefly resumed production of the discontinued brand.
BTO was such a great band, man.
See note on Bachman-Turner Overdrive, above.
A Chippendales dancer.
Chippendales is a traveling adult erotic dance show featuring male performers, aimed at mostly female audiences. The men are bodybuilders who dance and put on a show before stripping. They have touring companies worldwide, and have a standing act in Vegas. They have spawned a highly successful merchandising line that includes posters, calendars, playing cards, and so forth.
Now that is a darling maxi skirt.
Skirts were ankle-length for most of history, but the maxi skirt became fashionable again in the late 1960s and 1970s, after hemlines had steadily crept north since the 1920s, culminating in the “micro-minis” of the 1960s; after those, there was nowhere for skirts to go but down.
They thought I was that guy from Due South.
That guy was actor Paul Gross, playing Constable Benton Fraser. Due South ran on CBS from 1994-1996; it was an odd show about a Canadian Mountie teamed up with a Chicago police detective.
And I’d like to thank Dan Aykroyd for doing that last line.
Dan Aykroyd was one of the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players in the original years of Saturday Night Live, from 1975-1979. He is a Canadian who worked with the Second City comedy troupe in Toronto. He wrote and starred in comedy movies such as The Blues Brothers (1980) and Ghostbusters (1984).
If you find a package store, get me some Yukon Jack.
Yukon Jack is a strong (50 percent alcohol) Canadian whisky. It is bright yellow and flavored with honey. It is manufactured by the British mega-booze conglomerate Diageo.
Let’s see what my Cap’n Crunch treasure map says.
Cap’n Crunch breakfast cereal was introduced in 1965. In the 1980s the cereal ran a promotion in which it offered a treasure map in specially marked boxes of the cereal that purported to show where the pirate LaFoote had hidden his treasure.
Somebody’s breaking shredded wheat biscuits.
Shredded wheat cereal was invented by Henry Perky in 1890. It was made by Nabisco for more than sixty years. It is now made by Post, in a plant in Naperville, Illinois.
The Canadian Nick Nolte.
Nick Nolte is a tough guy actor from such films as The Deep, 48 Hours, and Tropic Thunder.
“Troy, where are you?” Mr. Aikman?
Troy Aikman was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys for twelve years. From rookie to retirement he played in four Super Bowls and won three. He holds most of the team’s records as a QB. He is now an entrepreneur and part owner of several sports teams.
It’s an evil Porky Pig.
Porky Pig is a character in Warner Bros. cartoon shorts, known for his comic stutter and the phrase “Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!”
The Puking Buddha.
The Laughing Buddha, or Budai, is a Chinese folk deity that has been adopted into both Buddhist and Taoist traditions. Statues of Budai are not uncommon around the world, and tradition holds that rubbing the statue’s belly brings wealth and good luck.
Guess they thought he was a baby harp seal or something.
Harp seals are seasonally hunted for their soft, warm pelts. The babies are illegal to kill, and adorable, which further inflames animal rights groups. The harvest is regulated and monitored. Hunters used to club the seals over the head to avoid damaging the skin. Now they use rifles.
He trespassed on Charlton Heston’s place.
Charlton Heston (1923-2008) was an actor and political activist who appeared in such movies as The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes. He was a longtime spokesman for the National Rifle Association and was elected its president for three terms.
We bagged our own heads and saved.
“Bag your own and save” is an old grocery store slogan dating back to the 1970s.
Red Grooms’ Dracula.
Artist Red Grooms produces wildly colorful pieces that often incorporate three-dimensional elements. His figures look slightly cartoonish or exaggerated. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 take on the classic vampire tale, starring Gary Oldman in the title role.
My Hawkwind album cover will help.
Graphic artist Barney Bubbles (1942-1983) designed many album covers for trippy British band Hawkwind in the ‘70s.
That’s my favorite Jack Lemmon movie.
Jack Lemmon (1925-2001), in his golden years, starred in the comedy Dad in 1989. Ted Danson, who plays Lemmon’s son, has to take care of his eccentric father after the old man’s wife dies.
Look into your heart, eh?
“You can’t kill me—look in your heart!” is a line from the 1990 film Miller’s Crossing.
It’s a cult that worships Georgia O’Keeffe.
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was an artist from Wisconsin. She is acclaimed for her sensuous still-life paintings of flowers, and of Southwestern objects such as animal skulls. She relocated to New Mexico in 1946 and did some of her most recognizable work there.
Hey look! Milk Duds. They never go bad.
F. Hoffman & Co. of Chicago introduced Milk Duds candy in 1926. (They were not round as intended, hence “duds.”) They are a caramel drop surrounded by milk chocolate. Hershey’s eventually acquired them. In 2008 Hershey’s replaced the milk chocolate with cocoa and oil to maintain profits and keep the price the same. Maybe they should say “Now with even more Dud.”
He could easily be in Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was a southern rock band that became popular during the 1970s with songs such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines were killed in a 1977 plane crash in Mississippi.
“Go to hell!” Or at least Edmonton.
Edmonton is the capital of the province of Alberta, with a population of about 870,000.
I’m sorry, what did you say about Burton Cummings?
Burton Cummings was the lead singer of the Canadian rock band The Guess Who (see above note).
And take away his blow comb.
A blow comb is a small appliance that combines a hair dryer and a comb. Style while you dry.
A treasury of Sergio Aragonés sketches.
Spanish cartoonist Sergio Aragonés became famous after signing on with Mad Magazine in 1962, known particularly for the little gag cartoons he draws in the margins of the magazine. He and Mark Evanier also produced their own comic book called Groo the Wanderer, which was one of the first books to be owned by the cartoonists themselves.
Oh no, they’ve got a Chevy! They’re so dependable!
Chevy is the short name for automaker Chevrolet. It was founded in 1911 and bought by General Motors in 1917. “Most dependable, longest lasting” was an ad slogan for their Silverado trucks.
Grass stains. When you have cults, you’ve got to have Tide.
Tide is a brand of laundry detergent first introduced in 1946; it quickly became the best-selling detergent in America. It is manufactured by Procter & Gamble. A longtime advertising slogan for Tide was “If it’s got to be clean, it’s got to be Tide.”
Dear Counselor Troi, I waited at Denny’s but you didn’t meet me.
Starfleet Counselor Deanna Troi was a buxom female character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which aired from 1987-1994. She was played by Marina Sirtis, a Greek-British actress. Troi was half-alien, half-human, with conveniently vague psychic powers.
Dear Agent Scully, did not appreciate your lawyer’s tone.
FBI Agent Dana Scully was the female lead on The X-Files TV show (1993-2002) and in the movies based on the show. She was played by the comely Gillian Anderson.
Man, I solved Myst in ten minutes, why can’t I do this?
Myst was an adventure game from Cyan, released in 1993. It was a rather dull exercise in puzzles set in a nicely rendered world, but it was wildly popular, selling some 6 million copies.
I can see why Quebec wants to be separate from all this.
Starting in the 1960s, a militant secessionist movement arose in Quebec among those who wanted to break off from Canada and form a new French-speaking country. There were even some terrorist acts; in 1970 the Canadian government sent in troops after Quebec’s Minister of Labour, Pierre Laporte, was kidnapped and killed by militants. The situation remained tense during the 1970s; the separatist movement won power in elections and passed laws restricting how English could be taught in schools and used in everyday life. But in 1980, voters rejected a referendum on independence, a vote they repeated in 1995. For the time being, it appears Quebec is staying put.
[Sung.] Theme from the Olympics.
Tom is humming “Bugler’s Dream,” written by Leo Arnaud in 1958. It was not originally written for the Olympics. The theme was revived by ABC in 1968 when they began TV coverage of the winter games. Since then, film composer/conductor John Williams was commissioned with writing a new theme, which he did in 1984. This allows music royalty payments to be collected each time it is used.
Zut alors, je suis mort.
“Oh my goodness, I’m dead” in French.
Hey. Boys in the hoods. –Drop dead!
“Boyz-n-the-Hood” is a rap song by Eazy-E as a part of the group N.W.A. In 1991 director John Singleton made a film called Boyz n the Hood, starring fellow N.W.A member Ice Cube (who also wrote the song). It was a violent drama about gang life in South Central Los Angeles.
Mike? Would you say these guys are in a heavily forested area? –Uh, yeah, sure. –Would you call these the deep woods? –Yeaaah … –Because when you’re in the deep woods, you can’t beat the reliable, reasonably priced mosquito repellant “Off.” Ha-ha-ha. Man, you never even saw that coming, did ya?
Off is a popular brand of insect repellant sold by Johnson & Johnson. The riff is a long, painful buildup to the punch line to an old dirty joke: “When you’re out in the woods, you can’t beat Off.”
Uh, uh. This is just like when I almost missed my “Teens Encounter Christ” bus.
Teens Encounter Christ is a Roman Catholic youth program that sponsors weekend retreats for teenagers. It was founded in Michigan in 1965.
It’s just a jackalope.
A jackalope is a mythical creature created by Wyoming taxidermists Douglas and Ralph Herrick in the 1930s: a set of antlers (often but not necessarily those of an antelope) are attached to the head of a jackrabbit. People unfamiliar with wildlife are often bamboozled into believing they’re real. President Ronald Reagan had a jackalope head hung on one wall of his California ranch, and he liked to tell reporters that he had killed it himself.
They’ve stumbled upon Geddy Lee’s birthplace.
Gary Lee Weinrib, a.k.a. Geddy Lee, is a top-flight bass player with an unusually high tenor voice. Geddy was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1953, and joined the progressive rock band Rush as their bass player and vocalist in 1968.
It’s the “Wizard of Id” biathlon.
“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, with all the hooded torturers and executioners that implies, but addresses modern themes. A biathlon is technically any sporting event that combines two different sports, but it generally refers to the winter biathlon, which combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. Hunting on skis dates back to the dawn of recorded history.
Hey, it looks like their tin roof rusted.
“Tin roof rusted” is a line from the 1989 B-52’s song “Love Shack.” The expression has become a slang term for pregnancy, but the singer, Cindy Wilson, said in an interview that at the time they recorded the song it was just a nonsensical phrase.
All right, Abraham Lincoln, stop writing on that damn shovel and come out here.
Lincoln biographer Samuel Scoville Jr. wrote that Abe did his homework “with a bit of charcoal on the back of a wooden shovel, which he would whittle clean when it could hold no more.” The truth of this tidbit is unconfirmed.
A reference to L.A. Confidential, the 1997 neo-noir film about corrupt L.A. cops, which came out shortly before this episode aired and which is based on the 1990 book of the same name by James Ellroy. In the climactic battle of the film, star Russell Crowe hides under the floorboards of a seedy motel to get the drop on the bad guys. Winnipeg is the capital of the province of Manitoba in Canada, fairly close to the border with North Dakota. (Thanks to Valerie Royall for the L.A. Confidential reference.)
Ah, merde, mon pied.
French for “Ah, shit, my foot.”
Guy upstairs had bad enuresis.
Enuresis is the inability to control urination, usually in the context of bedwetting. This is considered normal from birth to 7 years, depending on multiple factors.
I haven’t been this tense since mock U.N.
Model United Nations is a youth training program for U.N.-style practice in diplomacy where students role-play as representatives of various U.N. member nations.
It’s Heckle! –No, it’s clearly Jeckle.
Heckle and Jeckle are a pair of cartoon magpies created by Paul Terry (founder of animation studio Terrytoons). They appeared in a series of shorts between 1946 and 1966; they also had a comic book in the 1950s. They were briefly revived in 1979 for the TV show The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle (1979-1981).
It’s Gordon Lightfoot at home.
Gordon Lightfoot is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Lightfoot’s first No. 1 U.S. hit was “Sundown” in 1974. He went on to write the lengthy ballad “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” in late 1975, a few weeks after the largest ship in the Great Lakes sank with all hands off Whitefish Bay. The song was released the following year and hit No. 2 in the U.S. (No. 1 in his native Canada).
By the way, I hates dat rabbit.
Yosemite Sam is a diminutive gunslinger known from dozens of appearances in Warner Bros. animated shorts, wherein he squared off primarily against Bugs Bunny. Sam and his huge red mustache first appeared in 1945’s Hare Trigger.
Oooh! What is that? Gimme that varmint.
See previous note.
It means, “Oooh, I’m gonna hog-tie that varmint.”
See previous note.
Come and sit by my side if you love me, how I hasten to bid thee adieu. Ooooh!
This is from the traditional folk song “Red River Valley.” Red River Valley is a vast area of land that covers southern Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota. The lyric goes, “So come sit by my side if you love me/Do not hasten to bid me adieu/Just remember the Red River Valley/And the one that has loved you so true.”
Oooh! I needs an eraser.
See note on Yosemite Sam, above.
Emperor Haile Selassie.
Haile Selassie (1892-1975) had been emperor of Ethiopia for six years when Italian dictator Benito Mussolini conquered it in 1936. Selassie fled to England but returned after the British recaptured it in 1941. He stayed in power until a communist-backed military junta overthrew him in 1974. He was jailed and either died suddenly or was killed. Rastafarians worship him as Jesus Incarnate.
Oooh, I hates those questions. –I hates legends.
See note on Yosemite Sam, above.
Wait. I was gonna sing something from Bone Machine.
A reference to the 1992 Tom Waits album Bone Machine. The gravelly voiced singer from Pomona had a few celebrity musicians like Keith Richards and David Hidalgo play on it. It won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.
If it’s any consolation, I hates that rabbit too.
See note on Yosemite Sam, above.
Well, how about a game of Balderdash?
Balderdash is a Mattel board game that is all about bluffing. Players make up definitions for words and challenge the other players to tell which is the real one.
Leif Garrett today.
Leif Garrett was a singer and teen idol in the 1970s who had a couple of modest hits and then turned to acting, appearing in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Outsiders and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, as well as some TV series. In later years he had a high-profile struggle with substance abuse that brought him back into the public eye.
Val-der-ee, Val-der-ah, Val-der-ee, Val-der-ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
The song is “The Happy Wanderer,” written just after World War II by Friedrich-Wilhelm Möller. It features a children’s chorus singing “I love to go a-wandering/Along the mountain track/And as I go, I love to sing/My knapsack on my back/Val-deri, Val-dera, Val-deri, Val-dera-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha/Val-deri, Val-dera/My knapsack on my back.”
Ahhrgh, oh, another M.I.
Myocardial infarction, or M.I., is the medical term for a heart attack.
He’s invoking the powers of Bryan Adams.
Bryan Adams is a Canadian rock star known for light-hearted power ballads. He had hits with “Heaven” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”
Bless my stick, oh holy Willie Mosconi.
Willie Mosconi (1913-1993) is considered to be the greatest pool player of all time. He won the World Straight Pool Championship fifteen out of sixteen times between 1941 and 1957. Many of the records he set still stand unbeaten. For the 1961 movie The Hustler, Mosconi taught pool novice Paul Newman how to look like an expert player.
[Sung.] Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo doodly-doo-doo-doo! Charge!
The famous ballpark organ fanfare “Charge” was written by University of Southern California junior Tommy Walker in 1946.
Aw, your s’more fell in.
S’mores are a favorite campfire snack, consisting of a toasted marshmallow and a square of chocolate (ideally Hershey’s) sandwiched between two halves of a graham cracker. Its origin is unclear, but recipes have appeared as early as 1927. The origin of the name is a bit more obvious: a contraction of “some more.”
Now Mike, technically that paper is s-s-smokin’! –No!
This overused line is from the 1994 film The Mask, starring Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. The film was more of a celebration of recent advances in computer animation than it was funny.
Cosmo Kramer was Jerry Seinfeld’s tall, lanky neighbor on the TV series Seinfeld, which aired from 1990 to 1998. The character, played by actor Michael Richards, was known for his trademark dramatic entrances.
Now ride, postman!
A line from Kevin Costner's 1997 post-apocalyptic clunker The Postman.
The Lone Rowsdower.
The Lone Ranger is 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.
[Sung.] William Tell Overture.
The Lone Ranger’s theme song was the overture from Gioachino Rossini’s 1829 opera William Tell.
Yeah, yeah, I know the routine, now the double jock-lock.
A jock-lock is a locker room prank. The victim’s legs are bent back and their feet shoved through the leg holes in their athletic supporter. This causes intense pressure and is very painful.
Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Alan Jackson.
Alan Jackson is a country musician who was extremely popular in the 1990s, with such hits as “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Chattahoochee.”
Erich von Stroheim hitches across America.
Erich von Stroheim (1885-1957) was an actor and director who hit his peak of fame in the silent-film era of the 1920s and ‘30s. As an actor, he specialized in villainous womanizer roles (and was dubbed “The Man You Love to Hate”). As a director, he is best remembered for his 1925 epic Greed, which is considered by some critics one of the best films ever made. Unfortunately, its initial cut clocked in at four hours, and the studio only released it in a butchered two-hour version. A restored version, using still photographs from the production, was released in 1999.
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace, shoving those sandwiches into your face, singing “We will, we will Rowsdower!” “Sing it!”
A paraphrase of “We Will Rock You” by Queen. Sample lyrics: “You got mud on your face/You big disgrace/Kickin’ your can all over the place/We will we will rock you …” The song appears on the 1977 album News of the World.
George Balanchine (1904-1983) was a choreographer from Russia who defected in 1924 and began a legendary career that helped marry the traditional ballet with modern dance. He founded the School of American Ballet in New York and the New York City Ballet, and was among the most respected and widely used choreographers of his day.
[Sung.] “Figaro’s Aria.”
Tom is singing the famous aria by the titular Barber of Seville in the opera by Rossini, known to a generation of kids from the Bugs Bunny cartoon The Rabbit of Seville.
A horse! My six-pack for a horse!
From William Shakespeare’s play Richard III, Act V, Scene IV: “A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
Hey, it turns out to be Mount Pinatubo, they all fall in. Bye!
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano in the Philippines. In 1991, for the first time in 500 years, it erupted, killing more than 800 people and leaving 100,000 homeless. It is one of the largest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century.
Oh, wow, it’s a Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company cult.
Stuart Anderson’s Cattle Company was a chain of steakhouses in the ‘80s; many closed, and the survivors seem to have been converted to Black Anguses.
Al Jolson (1886-1950) was a vaudeville-era performer who in 1927 starred in The Jazz Singer, the first “talkie” movie where the sound was in sync with the picture. Jolson performed in blackface minstrel makeup and sang his signature tune, “My Mammy,” in the film.
Huh huh huh, I’m just remembering a scene from Bio-Dome.
Bio-Dome (1996) was a limp comedy about two guys (Stephen Baldwin and Pauly Shore) who get trapped inside an experimental earth-friendly habitat.
Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you.
“Don’t worry. I won’t hurt you,” spoken in a slowed-down voice, is the opening line to the Prince song “1999.”
Hey, this is it! This is the actual Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
The 1967 album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, by the band The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, featuring lead singer Arthur Brown, is considered a classic of the psychedelic era. It features his famous song “Fire,” which has the line “I am the god of hellfire!” Brown used to wear a real flaming smudge-pot on his head while performing; at least twice his hair caught fire onstage.
Oh, nice. Are those Totes? Oh, hey, they are.
Totes are a brand of rubber rain boots. The company started making them in Cincinnati in 1942, along with umbrellas, gloves, and other rain gear.
Somewhere Lee Trevino scurries for cover.
Lee Trevino is a retired professional golfer who was famously struck by lightning in 1975 during the PGA Western Open near Chicago. He suffered shoulder burns and a damaged spinal disc.
And remember, if the ladies don’t find you handsome, at least you should be handy.
This is the sign-off line from The Red Green Show, a Canadian sitcom that aired from 1991-2006. It deals with a fictional handyman (Steve Smith) and the yokels he hangs around with.
The Love Canal State Forest.
Love Canal was a neighborhood in 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.
Wow. It’s Expo 67.
Expo 67 was a world’s fair held in Montreal, Canada, in 1967. It also coincided with the Canadian Confederation centennial. This was a very big event for Canada: they named the Montreal Expos baseball team after it two years later.
Audrey Hepburn! Oh, no, it’s Troy.
Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) was an actress who rose to international fame in a series of movies in the 1950s and ‘60s. She was known for her impeccable fashion sense, and while she dressed in many different styles in various movies, from down-to-earth to Cinderella-fancy, one of the looks she was most identified with was the gamine, with her boyishly short hair and tomboy clothes.
Luke. It is your destiny.
This line is spoken by villain Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back (1980), as he is trying to lure hero Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) over to the Dark Side.
Susan Dey! Oh, no, it’s Troy.
Susan Dey, teen model and actress, became a star playing Laurie Partridge on The Partridge Family. Later she starred on L.A. Law as assistant D.A. Grace Van Owen.
He’s going to turn into a war-wilf.
A reference to Show 904, Werewolf.
Neosporin really worked.
Neosporin is a topical over-the-counter antibiotic used to prevent infections in minor cuts and scrapes.
Join us next week when Troy and Zap battle an army of evil Acadian robots on Cape Breton.
Acadians are the descendants of the French settlers who first colonized the Maritime Provinces of Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island) in the 17th century. (Cape Breton Island is part of Nova Scotia.) During the French and Indian War (1754-1763), many Acadians were forced to leave their homes; one group traveled south down the Mississippi River and settled in New Orleans. Their descendants are known as Cajuns.
Then in upcoming weeks, they’ll take on a band of zombie fur trappers in Medicine Hat.
Medicine Hat is a small city in southeastern Alberta, close to the Montana border, with a population of about 60,000.
That’s on Zap and Troy: The Legendary Journeys.
Syndicated action series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys ran from 1995-1999 and starred Kevin Sorbo in the title role. Herc and his sidekick, Iolaus, fought monsters and warlords and helped people with their personal problems. It was among a slew of shows shot in New Zealand to save costs. Xena: Warrior Princess was a successful spinoff, running for six seasons as well.
But at least we didn’t have to watch him play Hacky Sack.
The game of Hacky Sack (a.k.a. footbag) is played by kicking a soft, golf-ball–sized ball full of pellets, either solo or between players, without it touching the ground. The name Hacky Sack is trademarked and owned by Wham-O. It was invented in 1972 by a couple of hippies.
Danny Elfman, Danny Elfman. This song sounds like Danny Elfman, Danny Elfman. He’s the father of Jenna Elfman, Jenna Elfman, Jenna Elfman. She’s the daughter of Danny Elfman, Danny Elfman.
Danny Elfman was the leader of the new wave rock band Oingo Boingo. Film maker Tim Burton was an Oingo Boingo fan, and had Elfman score his movies. His career took off, and he went on to make endless similar-sounding scores. Listening to wildly skirling violins on the screen? It’s probably an Elfman score. Jenna Elfman, on the other hand, is an actress best known for the TV sitcom Dharma & Greg (1997-2002), on which she played the free-spirited Dharma against Thomas Gibson’s uptight Greg. She is married to Danny’s nephew, Bodhi Elfman; Danny is thus her uncle by marriage, not her father.
[Beep.] Hold on. Yeah, Judy. Okay, thanks. You got two minutes. Guttenberg’s people are coming in.
Steve Guttenberg is an actor whose greatest success came in the 1980s, in such films as Diner, Cocoon, and Three Men and a Baby.
What are you, one of those Dennis Franz freaks, huh?
Dennis Franz is an actor best known for playing Detective Andy Sipowicz for twelve seasons on the 1990s police drama NYPD Blue.