402: The Giant Gila Monster
by Wyn Hilty
Macy’s is a national chain of department stores. It is owned by Federated Department Stores, founded in 1929.
Only you can prevent forest fires.
Smokey the Bear is the longtime spokescreature for the U.S. Forest Service. He was created in 1944 to preach the message of fire prevention, with the slogan “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
Barnabas Collins was the vampiric lead on the campy supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows, which aired from 1966-1971. The role was played by Jonathan Frid.
Shelley Winters (1920-2006) was a hefty actress who appeared in such films as The Diary of Anne Frank (for which she won an Oscar) and The Poseidon Adventure.
[Sung.] Gorgeous, gorgeous, who cares, there ain’t no rhyme for orgeous.
A variation on the song “There Ain’t No Rhyme for Oranges,” which was performed on the Sid and Marty Krofft kids’ show H.R. Pufnstuf. Sample lyrics: “Oranges, poranges/Who says!/Oranges, poranges/There ain’t no rhyme for oranges!”
Richie! Potsie! Noooo!
Richie Cunningham and Warren “Potsie” Weber were characters on the TV sitcom Happy Days, which aired from 1974-1984. Richie was played by Ron Howard and Potsie was played by Anson Williams.
Oh, look! [Sung.] Rollin’, rollin, rollin’ …
A line from the theme song to the television show Rawhide, which aired from 1959-1966. Sample lyrics: “Rollin', rollin', rollin'/Though the streams are swollen/Keep them dogies rollin'/Rawhide!”
Bad movie? You’re soaking in it!
“You’re soaking in it” was the slogan in a series of commercials for Palmolive dish soap that aired from 1966 to 1992, in which maternal beautician Madge the manicurist (played by Jan Minor) informs her shocked clients that they’re soaking their hands in Palmolive liquid soap.
[Sung.] Hava la gila, hava la gila, hava …
A variant of the traditional Jewish song “Hava Nagila.” Sample lyrics: “Hava nagila, hava nagila/Hava nagila venis'mecha.”
You know what? This kind of looks like a modified I Dream of Jeannie Intercept font.
I Dream of Jeannie is a TV sitcom about an astronaut who stumbles on a bottle containing a female genie. It starred Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden. The show ran from 1965-1970.
No, no, no, no—it’s Bewitched san serif.
Bewitched is a sitcom about a witch married to a normal man who uses her powers to solve the everyday problems her family faces. It starred Elizabeth Montgomery as witch Samantha Stephens. The show ran from 1964-1972.
I think you’re thinking of a Patty Duke Show bold condensed, actually.
The Patty Duke Show was a TV sitcom about “identical cousins” that aired from 1963-1966.
You know, if it was italicized, I’d swear it was Jack Webb.
Jack Webb (1920-1982) was an actor and producer best known for his portrayal of Sergeant Joe Friday on the TV series Dragnet, which aired from 1951-1959.
It’s Dom Casual, actually.
Dom Casual, unlike the others, is actually the name of a real-life font. It was created in 1951 by designer Peter Dom.
Hey, look: Wee Willie Risser. My favorite John Ford film.
Wee Willie Winkie is a 1937 film starring Shirley Temple as a little 19th-century girl who goes to live with her military grandfather. It was directed by John Ford, who is better known as a director of classic Westerns such as Rio Grande and The Searchers.
Oh, Ken Curtis—Festus from Gunsmoke. “Now, Matthew …”
Ken Curtis (1916-1991) played deputy Festus Haggen on the TV series Gunsmoke, which aired from 1955-1975. He worked under U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, played by James Arness.
The best to you each morning.
“The best to you each morning” is an old advertising slogan for Kellogg’s cereals.
Oh, it’s a scene from Truth or Dare.
Possibly a reference to Madonna: Truth or Dare, a notorious 1991 documentary on the pop star that told viewers more about her sex life than they could possibly want to know.
Hey, it’s Katharine Hepburn’s son.
Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003) was an elegant actress known for high-class roles in such films as The Philadelphia Story and Adam’s Rib. She was only briefly married from 1928-1934 (although she carried on a long-term romance with actor Spencer Tracy until his death in 1967), and never had any children.
Hey, here comes Sabrina and the Groovy Goolies.
Sabrina and the Groovy Goolies was a short-lived 1970 animated series about a rock band made up of monsters. The group apparently drove around in a dune buggy.
It’s the magnificent men in their jaunty jalopies!
Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines is a 1965 adventure/comedy about an international air race. Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies is a 1969 film about a car race across Europe.
Oh, shut up, Pee-wee.
Possibly a reference to Pee-wee Herman, a child-adult persona adopted by comedian Paul Reubens. Pee-wee got two movies and his own children’s television show, which was canceled prematurely after Reubens was arrested for indecent exposure.
Hoiman, wait here in the car!
Probably a reference to Herman Munster, the clan patriarch on The Munsters, a TV sitcom that aired from 1964-1966. The part was played by Fred Gwynne.
It’s TV’s lovable Stringbean! Yayyyy!
Stringbean, a.k.a. David Akeman (1915-1973), was one of the original cast members of the TV variety show Hee Haw. He was also a star performer in the Grand Ole Opry for decades.
My little deuce coupe? You don’t know what I’ve got!
A line from the song “Little Deuce Coupe” by the Beach Boys. Sample lyrics: “Little deuce coupe/You don't know what I got/Well I'm not braggin' babe so don't put me down/But I've got the fastest set of wheels in town …”
New York City?! Get the rope.
In the 1980s, Pace picante sauce ran a series of advertisements featuring rough-and-tumble cowpokes who are horrified to discover that their camp cook is using a salsa that is (unlike Pace) made in New York City. “Get a rope,” one of them says, preparing to string up the hapless cook.
Again with the finger.
Probably a reference to a line in The Sunshine Boys, a play by Neil Simon that was made into a 1975 film starring Walter Matthau and George Burns as two feuding vaudevillians. The actual line: “The finger! You’re starting again with the finger!”
Oui. They play Jerry Lewis movies.
Jerry Lewis is a classic vaudeville comedian who, with comedy partner Dean Martin, was the top box-office draw in the late 1950s and early ‘60s. Some of his films include The Bellboy, The Disorderly Orderly, and The Nutty Professor. Lewis was phenomenally popular in France in the 1960s; in 1984 he received France’s Legion of Honor.
Let's go do some crimes, man.
A line from the 1984 film Repo Man, starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. (Thanks to Michael Grutchfield for this reference.)
Oh, it’s Red Man juice!
Red Man is a brand of chewing tobacco; Red Man juice, therefore, would be the spittle of someone chewing it.
One-Adam 12, what are you doing in Wisconsin?
“One Adam-12” was how the police dispatcher opened her bulletins on the TV cop show Adam-12, which ran from 1968-1975. The part was played by Shaaron Claridge, who worked as an actual dispatcher for the Los Angeles Police Department.
Selznick International Pictures presents …
Selznick International Pictures was an independent movie production studio that specialized in high-prestige, big-budget pictures like Gone With the Wind. Its logo showed an elegant mansion, the headquarters of the studio.
I’m Sebastian Cabot, and this is Ghost Story.
Ghost Story was a 1972 TV series starring Sebastian Cabot as Winston Essex, the host of the anthology series, who would introduce each week’s story, which was generally a supernatural horror tale. In 1973 the series changed its name to Circle of Fear and the Essex character disappeared.
That Jerry Lee, he’s done it again!
Probably a reference to rocker Jerry Lee Lewis, known for such hits as “Great Balls of Fire.”
Hooker’s a good cop.
One of the writers’ favorite phrases, this is a reference to the 1980s cop show T.J. Hooker, which aired from 1982-1986.
This is my world, and welcome to it.
My World and Welcome to It was a short-lived 1969 TV series based on the work of cartoonist and humorist James Thurber.
What is this, The Misfits all of a sudden?
The Misfits was a 1961 film about a hunt for wild horses; it starred Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.
A Joe Namath netted slingshot.
Joe Namath is a football quarterback who played for the New York Jets from 1965 to 1976. He once did an infamous commercial for Hanes pantyhose, but I was unable to turn up any reference to Joe Namath brand briefs. I should point out that Tom Servo’s underwear collection contains “one pair of Joe Namath netted slingshot briefs.”
Hec Ramsey was a TV series starring Richard Boone in the title role, a turn-of-the-century detective who relies on his wits rather than his guns. It aired from 1972-1974.
You know, like Warren Beatty and Annette Bening?
Warren Beatty and Annette Bening starred together in the 1991 film Bugsy, a biopic about the life of Las Vegas founder Bugsy Siegel. The two struck up a romance on set, and the following year, the notorious ladies’ man Beatty married Bening; the two have since had four children together.
Jeez, what is he, the Shell Answer Man?
The Shell Answer Man was the star of various commercials and educational pamphlets put out by Shell Oil, in which he gave solutions to common car problems.
“What bank does he use?” Hooterville Savings and Loan, why?
Hooterville is the name of the small rural town that was the setting for the TV sitcom Green Acres, which aired from 1965-1971, as well as for the sitcom Petticoat Junction (1963-1970). The “bank” consisted of a cash box kept by the town storekeeper, Sam Drucker.
Looks like the garage of Doctor Caligari.
The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari is a 1920 silent film about a traveling fair with a strange hypnotist and his sidekick, Cesare, who can predict the future. It is filmed in a highly stylized manner, with long, strange shadows jumping out at you everywhere.
Dong, dong, dong. Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!
A reference to a scene in the 1939 film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which the hunchback Quasimodo (Charles Laughton) carries the limp, unconscious body of the condemned Esmerelda (Maureen O'Hara) up into the bell tower and cries out to the crowd, “Sanctuary! Sanctuary! Sanctuary!”
Say, nice J. Crew barn jacket.
J. Crew is a clothing retailer known for simple, classic styles. Its barn jacket, introduced in the early 1980s, was a huge hit and continues to be a steady seller.
Meanwhile, at Grandma’s lake cottage in Frederic, Wisconsin …
Frederic, Wisconsin, is a tiny town in central Wisconsin, with a population of about 1,200. It is located on the shores of Coon Lake.
Junior Samples (1926-1983) was a cornball comedian/country singer/harmonica player known for his long run on Hee Haw, the country-western variety show that aired from 1969-1992; Samples appeared on the show until his death in 1983.
Well, let’s just say I’m acquainted with the night.
A reference to the Robert Frost poem “Acquainted with the Night.” Sample lines: “I have been one acquainted with the night/I have walked out in rain—and back in rain/I have outwalked the furthest city light.”
Will Rogers Follies will continue after this.
The Will Rogers Follies: A Life in Review is a Broadway musical about the folksy, down-home comedian Will Rogers (1879-1935). It was first performed in 1991 and ran for nearly a thousand performances.
Is it safe?
An imitation of the villainous Dr. Szell in the 1976 film Marathon Man; the part was played by Laurence Olivier.
Turn it off!
A line from the 1979 film Hardcore, starring George C. Scott as an American businessman who discovers that his daughter has been acting in porn films. The line is spoken by Scott while watching one of his daughter’s artistic efforts.
N.Y. P. D.
Probably a reference to the TV show N.Y.P.D., which aired from 1967-1969.
Hey, it sounds like Robert Klein’s around here.
Possibly a reference to standup comedian and actor Robert Klein.
No, but I’ve got a Singapore Sling.
A Singapore Sling is a cocktail of immense complexity, consisting of gin, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, Cointreau, Dom Benedictine, grenadine, and bitters. It was created at the Raffles Hotel around the turn of the century by a Chinese bartender.
It’s young Jimmy Morrison as the lizard king.
Jim Morrison (1943-1971) was the lead singer for The Doors. One of his nicknames was “The Lizard King,” taken from a line in his poem “Celebration of the Lizard.”
Here comes Fred Sanford.
Fred Sanford was the irascible father on the TV series Sanford and Son, which aired from 1972-1977. The role was played by Redd Foxx.
The road company of Death of a Salesman, ladies and gentlemen.
Death of a Salesman is a play by Arthur Miller about a professional salesman’s difficult relationship with his son.
A reference to the famous line from the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti.”
Everett Koop—I’ve been meaning to quit!
C. Everett Koop (1916-2013) was the surgeon general under President Ronald Reagan, serving from 1981-1989. One of his chief policy objectives was to reduce smoking, and he became the first surgeon general to launch a very public campaign against cigarettes. In 1986, Koop authored a study that drew attention for the first time to the dangers of so-called “secondhand smoke.”
It’s a Montclair Moment!
Montclair is a brand of cigarettes; I believe the phrase “Montclair Moment” comes from their advertising, but I have as yet been unable to confirm this.
And for killing that salesman, you win this Samsonite luggage.
Samsonite is a brand of luggage first introduced in the 1940s. It is named after the biblical hero Samson, in an effort to emphasize the strength and durability of the luggage.
Insured by Allstate.
Allstate is an insurance company that offers auto, home, and life insurance, among other products and services.
I’m guessing a Northwest flight passed overhead.
Northwest Airlines is a passenger airline based in Minneapolis-St. Paul. For some reason, the writers really had a hate on for this airline, and they insulted it mercilessly every chance they got.
Following the Watergate scandal of the early 1970s, which ultimately resulted in President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation, a tradition has developed of dubbing any political scandal with the suffix “gate.” Examples include Billygate, Travelgate, Whitewatergate, and Strippergate.
Looks like Edward R. Murrow’s been through here.
Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965) was a legendary radio and television broadcast newsman who had a profound influence on broadcast journalism. He also smoked very heavily, frequently lighting up while on the air, and eventually died of lung cancer.
1313 Mockingbird Lane.
1313 Mockingbird Lane was the address of the family home on the TV sitcom The Munsters, which aired from 1964-1966.
Oh, thank goodness the IHOP’s still open, you know?
The International House of Pancakes, better known as IHOP, is a nationwide chain of restaurants specializing in breakfasts.
Ooh-la-la, Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity for me!
Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity is one of IHOP’s signature breakfasts (see previous note), consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, and buttermilk pancakes with fruit topping and whipped cream.
Hey, you’re getting Dippity-Do on my coat.
Dippity-Do is a brand of hair-styling products, including gels, mousse, and pomade.
Burt Ward is an actor who is best known for playing Dick Grayson/Robin on the campy TV series Batman, which aired from 1966-1968.
Yeah, maybe at a 7-Eleven.
7-Eleven is a national chain of convenience stores.
Here, let’s go rent The Errand Boy.
The Errand Boy is a 1961 film directed by, co-written by, and starring Jerry Lewis (see above note) as a corporate spy posing as a mailroom clerk.
He’s an excellent driver. Definitely an excellent driver. He’s not wearing his underwear.
An imitation of Dustin Hoffman as Raymond Babbitt in the 1988 film Rain Man.
“[Honk.] What is it?” It’s the State Farm insurance theme. You like it?
State Farm is an insurance company offering homeowners, auto, life, and other types of insurance. I assume this is in reference to an old advertising jingle for the company.
“What is it now?” It’s the Aamco theme. That’s even better.
Aamco is a chain of auto service centers specializing in transmission repair.
[Sung.] State Farm insurance …
See previous note.
Here’s a Denny’s coupon, good any time after midnight. Enjoy.
Denny’s is a budget chain of restaurants found across the length and breadth of this fair land.
Howie Mandel. What’s the appeal?
Howie Mandel is a standup comedian and actor who was a regular on the TV series St. Elsewhere and who performs regularly in concerts and TV specials.
Travolta in Blow Out.
Blow Out is a 1981 film starring John Travolta as a movie sound man who accidentally becomes witness to a murder.
Hello, I’m Larry Miller. How are you?
Standup comedian and character actor Larry Miller has appeared in such films as Pretty Woman and L.A. Story.
As long as I get to be Tige Andrews.
Tige Andrews (1920-2007) was an actor best known for portraying Captain Adam Greer on the TV series The Mod Squad, which aired from 1968-1973.
No, we’ve decided you’re already Larry Miller.
See previous note on Larry Miller.
I'm your boyfriend now.
A reference to a line in Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), when Freddy Krueger calls Heather Langenkamp on the phone to say, "I'm your boyfriend now, Nancy," and his grotesque tongue comes out of the receiver to lick her face. (Thanks to Michael Grutchfield for this reference.)
Oh, never mind. Say, honey, Spalding Gray’s performing Monster in a Box down here.
Spalding Gray (1941-2004) was a performance artist whose works consisted of him sitting at a table and telling a story in a long monologue. Monster in a Box was a performance piece Gray wrote in the early 1990s about the difficulties he encountered in writing his first novel; it was made into a movie in 1992.
Hey, he put on a little weight for the role, just like De Niro.
When actor Robert De Niro played Jake La Motta in the 1980 film Raging Bull, he famously gained 60 pounds to portray the boxer as an older man.
No, that is De Niro.
See previous note.
He’s doing a Gap commercial.
The Gap is a chain of retail casual clothing stores founded in 1969.
I like to watch.
“I like to watch” is a line from the 1979 movie Being There, starring Peter Sellers as a simple gardener.
Go left! Ladies and gentlemen, join us next week for another edition of Abbott and Costello Playhouse.
(Bud) Abbott and (Lou) Costello were a comedy team from the 1930s through the 1950s. They got their start in vaudeville and soon made the leap to radio, TV, and film. They were known for snappy routines like their world-famous “Who’s on First?”
Looks like Tige Andrews in the middle there.
See note on Tige Andrews, above.
No, it’s Larry Miller.
See note on Larry Miller, above.
Larry Miller, ladies and gentlemen, Larry Miller.
See note on Larry Miller, above.
Oh, Rochester, will you dust the truck?
An imitation of comedian Jack Benny on The Jack Benny Show. Rochester was his faithful valet/butler; the role was played by Eddie Anderson.
It’s The Wages of Fear.
The Wages of Fear is a 1953 French film about a group of men hired to transport a shipment of nitroglycerin under highly unsafe conditions.
Meanwhile, back at the Joad house …
The Joads are the poor farm family searching for a better life in the John Steinbeck novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Oedipus, you put me down. You’ll poke your eyes out!
The story of Oedipus is a tale from Greek mythology, about a man who is fated to unknowingly kill his father and marry his mother. In the end, Oedipus puts out his own eyes and is driven into exile.
Raffi is a well-known singer-songwriter who specializes in entertaining children. He recorded his first albums in the 1970s and has remained consistently popular since then.
He really did come with a banjo on his knee.
A reference to the traditional song “Oh Susanna.” Sample lyrics: “Oh, Susanna/Oh don’t you cry for me/For I come from Alabama/With my banjo on my knee.”
[Sung.] Tiptoe through the tulips …
A line from the song “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” by Tiny Tim. Sample lyrics: “Tiptoe to the window, by the window that is where I'll be/Come tiptoe through the tulips with me!/Tiptoe from your pillow, to the shadow of a willow tree/And tiptoe through the tulips with me!”
She's trying to wish him into the cornfield right now.
In the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life," the creepy kid (played by Billy Mumy) uses his supernatural powers on people who displease him to "wish them" into a mystical cornfield, never to return. (Thanks to Kurt Steidl for this reference.)
[Sung.] Jimmy crack corn, and I don’t care …
A line from the traditional song “Jimmy Crack Corn,” also known as “Blue-tail Fly.” Sample lyrics: “Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care/Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care/Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care/My master's gone away.”
Boy, you know, I just love Sammy Cahn.
Sammy Cahn (1913-1993) was a composer who worked with any number of performers over his lengthy career. He contributed many songs to movies, including “High Hopes” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”; the latter was nominated for an Oscar, the former won one. In 1974 he got his own Broadway show, called Words and Music, which was hugely successful, touring for nearly two decades.
This is the Chapin brother they didn’t talk about.
Harry Chapin (of “Cat’s in the Cradle” fame) recorded his first album, Chapin Music, in 1966 with his brothers Tom and Steve.
Yep, smells like teen spirit, mm-hmm.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a song by the grunge rock group Nirvana. Sample lyrics: “With the lights out it’s less dangerous/Here we are now/Entertain us/I feel stupid and contagious/Here we are now/Entertain us …”
You don’t say. You don’t say? You don’t say! “Who was it?” He didn’t say.
This is taken from the Spike Jones song "Chloe (Song of the Swamp)," but it has been copied by virtually everyone on earth. (Thanks to Nick for this reference.)
Chinese fire drill, everybody out.
Chinese fire drills were a prank popular in the 1960s, in which all the occupants in a car stopped at a red light would get out and run around the car before diving back in, not necessarily in their original seats. (Thanks to Jacob for this reference.)
What’s on second.
A reference to an old Abbott and Costello routine, titled “Who’s on First?”
Just the facts, ma’am.
“Just the facts,’ ma’am” is the classic catchphrase associated with the TV series Dragnet, which aired from 1951-1959.
What’s on second.
See previous note on “Who’s on First.”
Oh, now here comes Zeppo.
Zeppo Marx was one of the four Marx Brothers, the straight man of the group.
I can’t stand that teen slang. Turn it to Paul Harvey.
Paul Harvey (1918-2009) was a radio broadcaster for ABC Radio Networks. His show, broadcast six days a week, consisted of news and commentary as well as his popular “The Rest of the Story” feature. He was on the air continuously from the 1940s until shortly before his death.
Was the Richard Speck a popular haircut back then?
Richard Speck (1941-1991) was convicted in 1967 of murdering eight student nurses in a townhouse on the south side of Chicago. He died in prison in 1991 of an apparent heart attack.
Snuffy Smith is the star of the comic strip “Barney Google & Snuffy Smith.” He first appeared in 1934.
We now return to Three Jacks and a Jill.
Four Jacks and a Jill is a 1942 movie musical about four musicians searching for a new singer for their band. It starred Desi Arnaz and Ray Bolger.
He’s drinking Turtle Wax!
Turtle Wax is a line of car-care products, including waxes, polishes, and protectants.
Headed to Au Bar.
Au Bar is an upscale singles bar in Palm Beach, Florida. It was at Au Bar in 1991 that Kennedy scion William Kennedy Smith met the woman who later accused him of raping her (he was acquitted).
Grandpa Jones, ladies and gentlemen, Grandpa Jones.
Grandpa Jones (1913-1998) was a country musician, a banjo picker and folksy humorist who was a regular at the Grand Old Opry and on the country variety show Hee Haw.
Oh, you feel bad, Mr. Gower.
Mr. Gower is the druggist for whom George Bailey works as a boy, and whom George saves from accidentally poisoning a patient when he drunkenly fills a prescription incorrectly, in the 1946 movie It’s a Wonderful Life. The part was played by H.B. Warner (1875-1958).
Oh, I’ve seen this. This is the last scene from Crazy Larry and Dirty Mary, remember?
Dirty Mary Crazy Larry is a 1974 movie about a couple who kidnap the daughter of a grocery store owner and spend the rest of the film getting chased by the cops. At the end of the movie (spoiler alert), the car carrying the main characters crashes head-on into a train.
Home Alone (1990) was a phenomenally successful film about a young boy accidentally left behind when his large family goes on a trip, and his various ploys in defeating a couple of burglars intent on ransacking the family home. It spawned two theatrical and one made-for-TV sequels. The shot of Macaulay Culkin with his hands on his face in horror was widely used in the advertising for the film and has become iconic.
Billy Goat, Billy Goat, get off my bridge.
A reference to the traditional fairy tale “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” in which three goats in succession attempt to cross a bridge, beneath which lives a troll.
It’s the Soul Train!
Soul Train is a pop music television program with an African-American slant, featuring dancers wiggling away to the latest hits. It first aired in 1971 with longtime host Don Cornelius.
[Sung.] We’re traveling on the engine of the Happy Day express/The letters on the engine say J-E-S-U-S …
A line from the kids’ religious song “The Happy Day Express.”
Out, baby, out, out, out!
Probably a reference to the line in It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World: “Out, baby, out, baby, out!”
Hey, it’s Oedipus on wheels.
See note on Oedipus, above.
Norman Rockwell, sheriff.
“I paint life as I would like it to be,” artist Norman Rockwell once said, and the secret of his enduring success is that he painted life as a lot of other people wish it could be, too. Rockwell had a knack for painting nostalgic scenes that awakened the viewer’s longing for a mythical simpler, purer time. In his myriad illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post—he painted more than 300 of their covers over 50 years—he evoked a vision of small-town America that still resonates today.
What, you think I’m illiterate? I read the Enquirer.
The National Enquirer is a supermarket tabloid specializing in entertainment news and gossip. Unlike many of its tabloid brethren, journalistic accuracy at the Enquirer is generally considered to be pretty high.
Glen is fifty feet tall!
A reference to Show 319, War of the Colossal Beast.
Loni Anderson’s bust?
Loni Anderson is a blond, busty actress best known for her role as Jennifer Marlowe on the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, which aired from 1978-1982.
I’m in Shane.
Shane is a 1953 Western starring Alan Ladd as a retired gunfighter who unwillingly gets drawn into a range war.
Yeah, we’re going to do a nutty wakeup call on Marty Ingels.
Marty Ingels is an actor and voiceover artist who has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. He supplied the voice for Beegle Beagle on the old Tom & Jerry cartoons. (Thanks to Sampo for this reference.)
When the Caddy’s rockin’, don’t bother knockin’.
A paraphrase of the song “If the House Is a-Rockin’” by Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990). Actual lyrics: “Well - The house is a rockin' don't bother knockin'/Yeah - The house is a rockin' don't bother knockin'/Yeah - The house is a rockin' don't bother come on in …”
Conrad Bain (1923-2013) was an actor best known for playing Philip Drummond on the TV series Diff’rent Strokes, which aired from 1978-1986.
Wait a minute, Conrad—you wearing pants under that coat?
See previous note.
Because you’re Earl Warren.
Earl Warren (1891-1974) served as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1953-1969, a turbulent period in the court’s history. Among his landmark decisions were Brown v. Board of Education, which overthrew racial segregation in public schools, and Miranda v. Arizona, which required police to notify suspected criminals of their legal rights. He also headed the Warren Commission, the government body that investigated the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
There might be giants.
They Might Be Giants is an oddball rock group that had its first hits in the mid-1980s and has developed a small but loyal following since then.
Well, you’re high, Conrad.
See note on Conrad Bain, above.
This guy. He’s like a puppet made by Sid and Marty Krofft. He hardly moves!
Sid and Marty Krofft are brothers and television producers who created a string of children’s shows during the 1970s. H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bugaloos, and Land of the Lost were among their shows. Many of their shows featured their trademark large puppets.
Sounds like a slow version of “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”
A reference to Nancy Sinatra’s classic 1960s anthem “These Boots Were Made for Walking.” Sample lyrics: “These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do/One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”
Are you ready to walk, boots?
A line from “These Boots Were Made for Walking” (see previous note).
Charo is playing!
Charo is a singer, actress, and flamenco guitarist originally from Spain. She was a regular on The Hollywood Squares during the 1970s and appeared frequently on The Love Boat. She now performs regularly in Las Vegas.
Charo in charge?
See previous note on Charo. Charles in Charge was a TV sitcom starring Scott Baio as a young man who works for a family as a housekeeper/nanny. It aired from 1984-1990.
Barnaby Jones. Epilogue.
Barnaby Jones was a TV series that aired from 1973-1980. It starred The Beverly Hillbillies’ Buddy Ebsen (1908-2003) as an elderly private eye.
It’s Dionne Warwick!
Dionne Warwick is a pop singer who enjoyed a string of hits from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, including the theme to Valley of the Dolls and “Heartbreaker.” She had a long and fruitful association with songwriter Burt Bacharach.
The Dead Kennedys?
The Dead Kennedys were a San Francisco punk rock band formed in 1978. Known for their subversive style as well as their political subject matter, the band also became a force in the music industry through lead singer Jello Biafra’s record label Alternative Tentacles.
No, it's the 1910 Fruitgum Company.
The 1910 Fruitgum Company was a bubble-gum pop band in the 1960s, with such hits as "Indian Giver" and "Goody, Goody Gumdrops." (Thanks to Joel Boutiere for this reference.)
Led Zeppelin is a wildly influential rock band known for such hits as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Dazed and Confused.” They rose to prominence in the 1970s and broke up in 1980, but their music is still played on the radio 25 years later.
Whoa! Tige Andrews, dancing up a storm.
See note on Tige Andrews, above.
No, that’s Larry Miller.
See note on Larry Miller, above.
Hey, there’s Jessica Tandy in the back there.
Jessica Tandy (1909-1994) was an actress who appeared with great success in theater in her early career and enjoyed a renaissance in film as an old woman with such movies as Driving Miss Daisy and Fried Green Tomatoes.
David Soul is an actor best known for playing Detective Kenneth Hutchinson on the TV series Starsky and Hutch. He is also a singer known for such hits as “Silver Lady” and “Don’t Give Up on Us, Baby.”
John Travolta is an actor who rocketed to fame in the late 1970s with his appearance as disco dancer Tony Manero in the 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. After his career became somewhat moribund in the 1980s, he enjoyed a comeback in the 1990s with appearances in such movies as Pulp Fiction and Face/Off.
Johnny Rivers was the main attraction for years at the L.A. club Whiskey A Go Go and recorded a number of live albums there. He is known for such hits as “Secret Agent Man” and “Poor Side of Town.”
Art Garfunkel is a musician, best known as half of the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel.
Terence Trent D’Arby!
Terence Trent D’Arby was a pop musician who emerged in the late 1980s with hits such as “Wishing Well” and “Sign Your Name.” None of his subsequent albums did as well as his debut, however. He later changed his name to Sananda Maitreya and released several albums under that name.
Johnny Thunders was a singer and guitarist who broke into the punk scene in the early 1970s with the glam band New York Dolls. He also fronted the punk band The Heartbreakers and had a successful solo career before his death in 1991.
Bobby Goldsboro is a pop singer who had a string of hits in the late 1960s, including “Honey” and “Watching Scotty Grow.”
Q’uest-que c’est Gary Lewis and the Playboys?
Gary Lewis and the Playboys were a pop group during the 1960s, fronted by Jerry Lewis’s son. Their hits included “The Diamond Ring” and “Count Me In.” The group lost its popularity when Lewis was drafted in 1967 and never really recovered, although they tried regrouping after Lewis finished his service the following year.
Oh, this is sweet, just like when Vicki Lawrence won the Emmy on The Carol Burnett Show.
Vicki Lawrence is an actress and comedian who was a regular on The Carol Burnett Show. She later got her own series, Mama’s Family, which aired from 1983-1990. She won an Emmy in 1976 for her work on Carol Burnett.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
An imitation of Elvis Presley (1935-1977), the King of Rock and Roll, one of the most popular musicians from the 1950s until his death in the late 1970s. He was a teen idol in the late 1950s, helped usher in the era of rock and roll, became a movie star, created an enormous and opulent home at Graceland in Memphis, developed problems with drug abuse, and finally died of a heart attack at the age of 42. “Thank you very much” was a phrase Elvis frequently used, usually at the end of a song while applause thundered. He often said it very quickly with the words all tumbled together. This, of course, led to it being used in impressions of him for decades.
It’s a personal pan banjo.
In 1983, Pizza Hut introduced the Personal Pan Pizza, with a guarantee that it would be ready five minutes after ordering. It was an immediate success and has remained a strong seller for the chain.
[Sung.] Tiptoe through the tulips …
See note on “Tiptoe Through the Tulips,” above.
Tonight on Night Gallery: Lillian Hellman, Edward R. Murrow, and I will sneak a smoke behind the barn.
Night Gallery was an anthology horror series created by Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame; each episode was illustrated in a painting seen at the beginning of the show. It ran from 1970-1973. Lillian Hellman (1905-1984) was a playwright and screenwriter known for such works as The Children’s Hour and The Little Foxes. See also note on Edward R. Murrow, above. Serling, Hellman, and Murrow were all heavy smokers: Serling had a four-pack-a-day habit, Hellman was a chain smoker, and Murrow famously lit up on the air.
I’d say music hath charms to annoy a savage beast.
A reference to a line in William Congreve’s play The Mourning Bride: “Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast”—often misquoted as “beast.”
Matchbox. Save ‘em. Buy ‘em all.
Matchbox is a brand of die-cast miniature cars first manufactured in the early 1950s. The brand is now owned by Mattel.
They look like Hot Wheels.
Hot Wheels is another line of miniature die-cast cars, these introduced in 1968 by Mattel.
Corgi Cars are a brand of die-cast model cars produced by a company in Britain. They were introduced in 1956 and have sold millions of models since then. Two of the most famous, now highly sought after by collectors, are the James Bond Aston Martin and the Batmobile.
Sizzlers were rechargeable, battery-operated model cars produced in the 1970s by Mattel.
That’s why Deuteronomy is so long.
Deuteronomy is one of the books of the Old Testament. It consists mainly of several discourses made by Moses toward the end of his life.
It’s Jack Ruby!
Jack Ruby (c. 1911-1967) was a Dallas nightclub owner who catapulted to fame when he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald, the accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy. Ruby was convicted of the killing and sent to prison, where he died of cancer in 1967.
Margaux Hemingway in Lipstick.
Lipstick is a 1976 film starring Margaux Hemingway as a fashion model who is raped and takes revenge on her attacker.
Yeah, I’m going back to Jurassic Park.
Jurassic Park is a 1993 film about an amusement park where dinosaurs have been brought back to life through cloning. Naturally things go awry. There have been several sequels, but none came close to capturing the wondrous quality of the original.
[Sung.] Wild rebels … crunchy, chewy rebels …
A reference to Show 207, Wild Rebels.
We now return to Bearcats!, with Rod Taylor and Dennis Cole.
Bearcats! was a short-lived 1971 TV series about two mercenaries and their Stutz Bearcat in 1914. It starred Taylor and Cole as the two traveling tough guys.
Hey, Joel, now he’s driving a nitro-burning Funny Car!
Nitro-burning Funny Cars were popular racecars during the 1970s.
Oh, no, it’s The Field. With Richard Harris.
The Field is a 1990 film starring Richard Harris as a man who has farmed a particular field all his life, when the woman who owns it puts it up for sale at a public auction.
Oh, this is the Escher house. You can see all the way through.
Probably a reference to M.C. Escher’s famous drawing Relativity, featuring a house with stairs that changes perspective violently from one level to another.
Mary, don’t you know me?
A line from the 1946 movie It’s a Wonderful Life.
Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.
A line from the 1950 movie All About Eve.
Whoa, it’s The Evil Dead all of a sudden.
The Evil Dead is a 1981 horror flick about a group of friends who unwittingly release a horde of demons during a trip to a cabin in the woods.
It sure is the ‘50s—duck and cover.
“Duck and Cover” was a widely viewed film during the 1950s in which an animated turtle named Bert purported to tell children how to survive a nuclear attack.
I will prevail. I’m a survivor, like Cher.
Cher (b. Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPierre) is a singer and actress who has appeared on various television shows and in films. She first rose to fame as the co-host of a series of TV variety shows with her then-husband, Sonny Bono.
The horror. The horror.
The famous last words of Mr. Kurtz in the Joseph Conrad novel Heart of Darkness, as well as the final words of Marlon Brando as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s Vietnam War-based adaptation of the Conrad work.
I dub this spot Luggage World.
Probably a reference to the Minneapolis luggage store.
I love the smell of lizard in the morning. Smells like chicken.
A paraphrase of the famous line from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now: “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”
Oh, good, Adlai Stevenson is here.
Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) was the twice-unsuccessful Democratic presidential nominee during the 1950s. He later served as the U.S. delegate to the United Nations.
Good job, McCloud.
McCloud was a television series starring Dennis Weaver as a rural lawman who joins a big city police force. It ran from 1970-1977.
Like Holly Golightly?
Holly Golightly is the devil-may-care heroine of the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany’s; she was played by Audrey Hepburn.
Next time on the ABC Movie of the Week, Clint Howard in Killdozer.
Clint Howard, brother of actor/director Ron Howard, is an actor who has appeared in such films as Apollo 13 (1995) and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997). Killdozer is a 1974 TV movie about a construction crew building an airstrip during World War II who uncover an ancient evil spirit, which promptly takes control of their heavy equipment and begins to wreak havoc.
The sheriff will be back in Gila 2: The Revenge. This time it’s personal.
“This time ... it’s personal” was the tagline for the 1987 film Jaws: The Revenge.