407: The Killer Shrews
by Wyn Hilty
He’s doing a nickel up at Attica.
Attica Correctional Institute is a prison in western New York state; in 1971, it was the site of the deadliest prison riot in American history.
It’s the gom jabbar!
A reference to Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel Dune. In the book, the gom jabbar is a poisoned needle used in a test to see whether a person is a reasoning human being or an instinctive animal; the young hero, Paul Atreides, is tested at the beginning of the book.
Jim Henson’s Misfit Babies.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies was an animated television series that aired from 1984-1991. The Misfits was a 1961 film about a hunt for wild horses; it starred Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable.
“Bobby’s taking the low road and Mike’s taking the high road.” And they’ll get to Scotland afore ye.
A paraphrase of the traditional Scottish song “Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond.” Actual lyrics: “Oh! ye'll take the high road/And I'll take the low road/And I'll be in Scotland afore ye/But me and my true love/Will never meet again/On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.”
Looks like the kids in the stall.
A reference to Canadian comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall. (Thanks to Marcus Burkhard for this reference.)
Come on, Quaker Oats for you, it’s the right thing to do.
In the late 1980s, actor Wilford Brimley did a series of TV commercials for Quaker Oats, with the slogan “It’s the right thing to do.”
Out you pixies go, through the barn or through the hayloft.
From the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide: “Sheldon Leonard from It’s a Wonderful Life.” (The actual line: “That’s it, out you two pixies go, out the door or through the window.”)
Hey, kids, you ever read The Ox-Bow Incident?
The Ox-Bow Incident is a 1940 novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark. Set in 1885, it focuses on the lynching of three innocent men in the American West.
"You know, he told Bobby and Mike ..." If I like the girl, who cares what I like?
A paraphrased line from the 1984 New Edition song "Cool It Now": "Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike/If I like the girl, who cares who you like?" (Thanks to Marcus Burkhard for this reference.)
Sissy Spacek is an actress who has appeared in such movies as Carrie (1976) and Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980), for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress.
Jim Henson’s Last Picture Show Babies.
See note on Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies, above. The Last Picture Show is a 1971 film about two teenagers in a small, dying Texas town after World War II.
Hey, Mustang Sally!
A reference to the Wilson Pickett song “Mustang Sally.” Sample lyrics: “Mustang Sally, think you better slow your mustang down/You been running all over the town now/Oh! I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground.”
Ah, rodeo’s wasted on the young.
“Youth is wasted on the young” is a quip by playwright, essayist, and critic George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950).
You know I see somethin' subliminal in this here poster.
In 1957, market researcher James Vicary announced he had developed a new method of advertising: subliminal messages, or messages flashed on a screen too quickly for the conscious mind to perceive them but still capable of subconsciously influencing a viewer’s actions. A public uproar followed, fueled by the publication of Vance Packard’s book The Hidden Persuaders, which argued that advertisers were deliberately inserting hidden sexual images into their ads. Despite subsequent experiments showing that subliminal advertising simply didn’t work, television networks banned it from the airwaves the following year.
"There's Hank Evans's Angus bulls all slicked up for the rodeo." Heh. Everybody digs Hank Evans.
A reference to the 1958 album Everybody Digs Bill Evans, featuring the American jazz pianist.
Animals are to be bred and slaughtered!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The actual line, spoken by Peter Sellers in the title role: “Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plant life. Animals could be bred and slaughtered.”
Hey, Billy, I’ll buy that Rolling Rock from you.
Rolling Rock is a beer manufactured by the Latrobe Brewing Company of Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
A café society.
"Café society" was probably coined by journalist Lucius Beebe in the early 20th century to describe the Bright Young Things who assembled in cafes in London, Paris, and New York to see and be seen.(Thanks to Sarah McKinney for this reference.)
I can’t stop it, I don’t know how it works. Goodbye, folks!
A paraphrase of a line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, spoken by the Wizard as he’s carried off in a hot-air balloon: “I can’t come back! I don’t know how it works! Goodbye, folks!”
I think rodeos are the opiate of the masses.
"Religion ... is the opium of the people"—often rendered as "opiate of the masses"—is a famous quotation by philosopher Karl Marx (1818-1883). (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
A reference to singer/actor Al Jolson (1886-1950). Specifically, an imitation of his performance of his signature song, “My Mammy.” (Thanks to Erik Topp for pointing out this reference.)
“Show ‘em, cowgirl.” In the sand.
A reference to the Neil Young song “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Sample lyrics: “Hello cowgirl in the sand/Is this place at your command/Can I stay here for a while/Can I see your sweet sweet smile.”
"Sixteen seconds." What do you get?
A paraphrase of the song "Sixteen Tons" by Tennessee Ernie Ford. Actual lyrics: "You load sixteen tons, and what do you get/Another day older and deeper in debt ..." (Thanks to Marcus Burkhard for this reference.)
Why can’t Johnny ride?
“Why can’t Johnny read?” was a catch phrase in the 1970s designed to evoke the image of a failed public education system, adopted during one of America’s periodic orgies of national hand wringing over the ignorance of its children.
Like my friend Nietzsche said, that which does not kill me makes me stronger.
“That which does not kill me makes me stronger” (sometimes rendered simply as “What does not kill me makes me stronger”) is a line from the 1889 book Twilight of the Idols by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900).
See note on Wilford Brimley, above.
Now, it’s garbage.
A line from the 1968 film The Odd Couple, starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. The full exchange:
Felix: That’s not spaghetti! That’s linguini!
Oscar [throws plate across room]: Now it’s garbage.
He’s a moveable feast.
A Moveable Feast is a book by Ernest Hemingway, a memoir of his years in Paris as a struggling writer in the 1920s. The “moveable feast” of the title refers to the city of Paris, taken from a letter to a friend written years earlier: "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."
Here comes the last surviving castrati!
Castrati were opera singers: adult male singers who had been castrated before puberty, which produced a voice somewhat like an extremely powerful, rich soprano. The practice began in the 16th century, and by the 18th century most male opera singers were castrati. The last castrati, a man named Alessandro Moreschi, died in 1922.
“Just six seconds.” Over Tokyo.
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo is a 1944 film about a bombing raid into Japan during World War II.
That horse has got Air Jordans on!
Air Jordans are a line of athletic shoes manufactured by Nike; they are named after legendary basketball player Michael Jordan.
I am not an animal!
A line from the 1980 film The Elephant Man, about Joseph Merrick, a horrifically deformed man in Victorian England. The complete line: “I am not an animal! I am a human being! I am a man!”
Even George S. Kaufman won a prize.
George S. Kaufman (1889-1961) was an American playwright and drama critic whose works include You Can’t Take It With You and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. He won the Pulitzer Prize twice.
It’s Hayley Mills! –Sure loved you in The Parent Trap.
Hayley Mills appeared in a long string of films for Disney in the 1960s. Of these, the best known is The Parent Trap (1961), in which Mills played a dual role as twins scheming to reunite their divorced parents.
[Sung.] And the guys are not clowning all day.
A paraphrase of the song “Home on the Range,” the official state song of Kansas. Actual lyrics: “And the skies are not cloudy all day.”
“He must eat his own body weight every few hours.” Plus a delicious shake.
A paraphrase of the ad campaign for the Slim-Fast diet plan, which instructed participants to consume two Slim-Fast shakes plus a “sensible dinner” every day.
Starring Joan Collins and Jackie Collins.
Joan Collins is an actress who is best known for her role as Alexis Morrell Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan on the TV prime time soap opera Dynasty, which aired from 1981-1989. Jackie Collins, her younger sister, is a novelist of the “sex-and-shopping” variety; her best known work is Hollywood Wives.
Based on a novel by William Shatner. Spock!
An imitation of actor William Shatner, who played Captain James Tiberius Kirk on the TV series Star Trek and in the series of movies based on the show. Shatner is also the author (with veteran author Ron Goulart) of the TekWar series of novels. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) was Kirk’s second-in-command.
Matthew, if you ain’t the orneriest ...
An imitation of Festus Haggen, deputy to Marshal Matt Dillon on the TV western Gunsmoke; actor Ken Curtis (Jerry Farrell in The Killer Shrews) played the part from 1964-1975.
Hey, Ray Kellogg—he directed The Giant Gila Monster!
A reference to Show 402, The Giant Gila Monster.
Oh, it’s Robert Maxwell’s boat. Mr. Maxwell! Oh, Mr. Maxwell!
Robert Maxwell (1923-1991) was a British publishing tycoon. At one point he owned several book publishing companies, a string of British tabloids, the New York Daily News, and many more companies. However, by the 1990s he was in shaky financial circumstances and used $1.2 billion he secretly siphoned off from employee pension funds and other sources in an attempt to keep his empire from crumbling. On November 5, 1991, he disappeared off his yacht, and his body was recovered from the Atlantic some time later. The official cause of death was a heart attack plus accidental drowning.
It’s PT 90210—check it out.
PT 109 is a 1963 dramatization of President John F. Kennedy’s experiences serving in the military during World War II. Beverly Hills 90210 was a prime time teen drama about a group of high schoolers in Beverly Hills; it ran from 1990-2000.
Oh, yeah, it’s Gilligan’s Island, the headhunter episode.
Gilligan’s Island was a TV sitcom about a group of castaways; it ran from 1964-1967. The third-season episode “Topsy-Turvy” featured an invasion of the island by headhunters, who capture all the castaways except Gilligan.
Mrs. Lovey Wentworth Howell was one of the castaways on Gilligan’s Island; she was played by Natalie Schafer (1900-1991).
Like Robinson Crusoe, this is as primitive as it can be.
A paraphrase of a line from the theme song to Gilligan’s Island: “No phone, no lights, no motorcars, not a single luxury/Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be.”
Oh, I know this—this is the famous dock-walking scene. You know, this whole take was done in one shot. It’s a planned sequence, like the opening of Touch of Evil and the Copacabana scene in Goodfellas. This is virtuoso filmmaking, fellas. You’ve got to see it to believe it. You know, Brian de Palma used this in Bonfire of the Vanities. It’s really exciting, you know. Splendiferous.
The opening shot of the 1958 Orson Welles film Touch of Evil is one long tracking shot following a car with a bomb in its trunk through the streets of a Mexican town; the shot ends with the car exploding. The scene has become “the one to top,” with various directors trying their hands at outdoing Welles. Martin Scorsese took his shot in Goodfellas, in which a single shot following aspiring mobster Henry Hill into the Copacabana nightclub lasts 184 seconds. In Bonfire of the Vanities, director de Palma uses a similar shot to follow Bruce Willis as he arrives drunk at a party; de Palma would repeat the effect in his later film Snake Eyes.
“Looks like somebody’s getting rid of somebody.” Sometime.
A paraphrase of the song “Listen People” by Herman’s Hermits. Sample lyrics: “And don't you know that/Everybody's got to love somebody sometime/Everybody's got to win a heart ...”
Like Columbus, we claim this island for ... oh, hi.
Explorer Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) is popularly considered the discoverer of North America. On his first voyage, however, he did not actually set foot on the mainland; rather, he landed on several islands in the Caribbean, claiming them for Spain. These included Cuba, Haiti, and San Salvador in the Bahamas, generally considered the first landing site.
Ever heard of Slim-Fast?
See note on Slim-Fast, above.
“Here’s the manifest.” Destiny.
Manifest destiny was the doctrine expounded in the 19th century that the United States had a God-given right to expand all the way across the North American continent; the doctrine, first expressed in 1845, was used to justify a number of instances of territorial aggression, including illegal seizures of land ceded to Indian tribes by treaties and the annexation of Texas, California, New Mexico, and Hawaii, among others.
And if you go to San Francisco, wear some flowers in your hair.
A reference to the 1960s song “San Francisco” by John Phillips and Scott MacKenzie. Sample lyrics: “If you're going to San Francisco/Be sure to wear/Some flowers in your hair ...”
Oh, he must be scouting locations for Dukes of Hazzard.
The Dukes of Hazzard was a TV show about two “good old boys” in the South; it aired from 1979-1985. James Best, who plays Thorne Sherman in The Killer Shrews, played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the show.
Boss Hogg’ll love this place!
Jefferson Davis “Boss” Hogg was the chief villain on The Dukes of Hazzard (see previous note). The part was played by Sorrell Booke (1930-1994).
Rubin “Hurricane” Carter (1937-2014) was a rapidly rising professional boxer when, in 1966, he and a friend (both black) were charged with murdering three white men in Carter’s hometown of Paterson, New Jersey. Carter was twice tried and convicted of the crimes and spent a total of two decades behind bars until a federal judge, saying the convictions had been “based on racism rather than reason,” freed him in 1985.
Jerry Farrell? Hey, did he go to Harrison Elementary School?
While there are roughly a billion Harrison Elementary Schools in the United States, I’m willing to take an educated guess that the one referred to here is the one in Brainerd, Minnesota.
Nixon, please? What’s he talking about?
Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) was the 37th president of the United States, from 1969-1974. He resigned on August 9, 1974, rather than face almost certain impeachment by the House of Representatives over his role in the Watergate scandal.
Check your gun at the door, Festus.
See note on Festus, above.
"What a dump!" Who said that, George?
A reference to a line in the Edward Albee play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: "What a dump! Hey, what's that from? 'What a dump'?" (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Bob Clampett (1913-1984) was an animator and puppeteer who is known for the cartoons he made for Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes, but even more as the creator of the children’s TV show Time for Beany, for which he won three Emmys.
“Do you know there’s a hurricane coming?” No, but if you hum a few bars ...
This is a very, very old joke dating back roughly to the Pleistocene era. The full joke: “Do you know ________? No, but if you hum a few bars, I can fake it.”
Could you get me a few Denver Pyle autographs?
Denver Pyle (1920-1997) was a character actor who appeared in more than a hundred films and television shows. He is best known for his role as Uncle Jesse on the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard (see above note).
“What’s his field?” Of dreams.
Field of Dreams is a 1989 movie starring Kevin Costner as a Midwestern farmer who hears a mysterious voice instructing him to build a baseball diamond in his field.
Hey, it’s Cousin Marilyn from The Munsters.
Cousin Marilyn was the only normal member of the family on The Munsters, a TV sitcom that aired from 1964-1966. She was played first by Beverley Owen and later by Pat Priest.
Mmm-hmm, that’s good booze, mmm-hmm!
An imitation of Art Fern, an unctuous character created by Johnny Carson during his tenure as host of the Tonight Show. (Scot Penslar points out that while Carson frequently used this phrase, it actually originated with comedian Jackie Gleason.)
“Tell me something, doctor.” Why do fools fall in love?
“Why Do Fools Fall in Love” is a song that has been recorded by the Supremes, Frankie Lymon, and others. Sample lyrics: “Why does the rain fall from up above/Why do fools fall in love, why do they fall in love ...”
“Have you ever been through one?” Have you ever been mellow?
“Have You Never Been Mellow” is a song by Olivia Newton-John. Sample lyrics: “Have you never been mellow?/Have you never tried to find a comfort from inside you?/Have you never been happy just to hear your song?”
“Oh, I see.” I see London, I see France ...
This is the beginning of an old schoolyard chant designed to embarrass and humiliate the unwary victim: “I see London, I see France, I see [insert victim’s name here]’s underpants.”
[Sung.] Happy birthday to you ...
This song, which has become the standard for birthday parties, was written (albeit with different lyrics) in the 1890s by two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, under the title “Good Morning to You.” It was the most widely performed song of the 20th century.
That’s the guy who taught LBJ how to hold dogs.
Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) was president of the United States from 1963-1968. He provoked a nationwide controversy when, in order to give a photographer a good shot of his two beagles Him and Her, he picked the dogs up by their ears. (It is relevant to note that Johnson was not dangling them in midair by their ears—he merely lifted their front legs off the ground—and that the dogs did not seem to mind, but none of this appeased outraged animal lovers.)
This guy makes Al Lewis look handsome.
Al Lewis (1910-2006) is an actor who is best known for his portrayal of Grandpa Munster on the TV show The Munsters, which aired from 1964 to 1966. (Thanks to Mike Stubbs for this reference.)
Oh, Archie ...
An imitation of Jean Stapleton as the frazzled housewife Edith Bunker on the TV sitcom All in the Family, which ran from 1971-1979.
[Sung.] Hawaii Five-O theme.
Hawaii Five-O was a television show about the exploits of a group of police detectives in Hawaii. The series starred Jack Lord and ran from 1968-1980.
Like LT. Lawrence Taylor.
Lawrence Taylor, a.k.a. LT, was a linebacker with the New York Giants, playing in two victorious Super Bowl games and ten Pro Bowls before retiring in 1993.
I call ‘em cheddarwurst.
Cheddarwurst is a variety of smoked sausage made by Hillshire Farms that has cheddar cheese mixed into the sausage.
Yes, Mr. Eddie?
Probably a reference to Mrs. Livingston, the Japanese housekeeper on the TV sitcom The Courtship of Eddie’s Father; the part was played by Miyoshi Umeki.
Charles Bukowski was here before you—sorry about the mess.
Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) was a Los Angeles poet and novelist who specialized in tales of alcoholics, gamblers, hookers, and similarly down-on-their-luck folk.
Sanitized for my protection, huh?
Some motels and hotels put a strip of paper across the toilet seat with the words “Sanitized for your protection” or a similar phrase written on it—the idea being to reassure you that the toilet has been cleaned since the previous occupant used it.
Regular Walt Whitman, aren’t you?
Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was a American poet whose collection Leaves of Grass is considered one of the seminal poetic works of the 19th century. He celebrated the power of natural beauty to regenerate the human spirit.
Aw, someone left the cake out in the rain!
A line from the Donna Summer song “Macarthur Park,” widely considered the stupidest song ever written. Sample lyrics: “Someone left the cake out in the rain/I don't think that I can take it/'Cause it took so long to bake it/And I'll never have that recipe again.”
Oh, I get it! This is Knots Landing!
Knots Landing was a prime time soap opera, a spin-off of Dallas; it followed the melodramatic antics of a California family and their friends. It ran from 1979-1993.
Now, Miss Kitty ...
Kitty Russell, or Miss Kitty, was the saloon owner on the TV series Gunsmoke (see above note). She was played by Amanda Blake.
Oh, he’s Adam Ant.
Adam Ant is a new wave musician and actor who first made it big in 1980 with the release of his album Kings of the Wild Frontier; his biggest hit was 1982’s “Goody Two Shoes.”
A line from The Wizard of Oz, spoken by Auntie Em as the tornado is approaching the Gale farm at the beginning of the film.
Hi there, I’m Curt Gowdy. We’re out with George Kirby from Big Texas Shrew, and it’s really not going that well.
Curt Gowdy (1919-2006) was a sports broadcaster who for years acted as the host of American Sportsman, a TV fishing show. George Kirby (1923-1995) was an African-American song-and-dance man who appeared regularly on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Ren! Stimpy! No!
An imitation of the tightly wound Chihuahua Ren Hoek from the animated TV series The Ren and Stimpy Show, which aired from 1991-1995. The character was voiced first by series creator John Kricfalusi and later by veteran voice actor Billy West, who also provided the voice of the slow-witted cat Stimpy.
Go away! Go away! I’ll harm you!
“I’ll harm you!” is a line uttered by comedian Joe Besser (1907-1988) in his persona of Oswald, a bratty character he portrayed on The Abbott and Costello Show (1952-1953).
Wait till I finish my Saratoga.
“Wait till I finish my Saratoga” was an old advertising slogan for Saratoga cigarettes.
Meanwhile, back at the branch ...
Variations of this phrase originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators for films, radio, and television shows. Most recently, it was used in the various Superfriends animated series of the late 1970s. Narrator Ted Knight would say, “Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice ...” or “Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom ...”
Hang in there, baby! Friday’s coming!
“Hang on, baby, Friday’s coming” is the caption of a popular poster dating back to the 1970s that showed a kitten dangling by its front paws from a tree.
A little roscoe for you, shrew!
“Roscoe” was a slang term for a gun used in hardboiled detective fiction written during the first half of the 20th century.
Shaking the bush, boss!
A reference to the famous line “Shaking it up here, boss!” from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman as a loner on a chain gang. During a bathroom break, Newman’s character is allowed some privacy but only if he shakes the bushes while he urinates so the guards don’t think he’s making a break for it.
How about my friend roscoe?
See previous note on roscoes.
Pick another category, please—still your turn.
A reference to the TV game show Jeopardy!, which requires contestants to choose from among a selection of categories; the show has been on the air in various incarnations since 1964.
She’s got a real Hawaii Five-O hairdo there.
See note on Hawaii Five-O, above.
Well now, Matthew, I sure could use a giblet.
An imitation of Festus from TV’s Gunsmoke (see above note).
Now it’s like an Agatha Christie novel.
Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was a British detective novelist known for her “puzzle” mysteries—bodies sprawled in locked rooms, narrators who turn out to be the murderer, and suchlike. She is the creator of Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Did you try Roach Motel?
Black Flag Roach Motels are a brand of household cockroach traps manufactured by Clorox.
“Light all the candles you can find!” And curse the darkness!
“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” is a well-known saying adapted from a traditional Chinese proverb.
This is like a bad production of a Chekhov play.
Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) was a Russian playwright and short-story writer, known especially for his plays Uncle Vanya and Three Sisters.
This may be a reference to Steve Martin’s wonderful performance as sadistic dentist Orin Scrivello in Little Shop of Horrors, or it may simply be a comment on dentists in general.
Maybe the FantaSuites.
FantaSuites are a chain of “theme room” hotels in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana; you can check into the Caesar room, the Space Odyssey room, the Jungle room, and so forth. The ACEG’s comment: “Bring your own sheets.”
No, not Fury!
Fury was a TV series that aired from 1955-1960. It starred Peter Graves as a rancher who adopts an orphaned boy that manages to tame an unbreakable horse named Fury.
Tell me about your homeworld, Usul.
A paraphrased line from the 1984 film Dune, based on the Frank Herbert novel (see above note). The actual line: “Tell me of your homeworld, Usul.”
“Aren’t you the least bit curious?” Yellow?
I Am Curious (Yellow) is a Swedish movie from 1967 that became notorious for being the first mainstream movie released in the U.S. to show people having sex.
Believe it ... or not.
Most likely an imitation of actor Jack Palance, who hosted the television show Ripley’s Believe It Or Not from 1982-1986.
Did you say Frau Blücher?
Frau Blücher, as played by Cloris Leachman, was the sinister housekeeper in the 1974 horror spoof Young Frankenstein.
[Sung.] He was Mister Ed.
An imitation of the theme song to Mister Ed, a sitcom about a talking horse that aired from 1961-1966. The horse was played by a palomino named Bamboo Harvester; his voice was provided by Allan Lane.
Ken Curtis and Ken Curtis in Double Impact.
Double Impact is a 1991 film that starred Jean Claude Van Damme in a dual role as twins separated at birth. The phrasing of the quip is based on an old tagline that the writers were particularly fond of: “It’s Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap!” (See above note on Hayley Mills.)
My mouth’s bleeding, Bert!
A line from It’s a Wonderful Life (1946).
[Sung.] Booze, glorious booze ...
A take on the song “Food, Glorious Food” from the musical Oliver! Sample lyrics: “Food, glorious food!/Hot sausage and mustard!/While we're in the mood/Cold jelly and custard!”
Miles O’Keeffe in every direction.
Miles O’Keeffe is a buff actor who has appeared in a fair number of Conan the Barbarian type movies, usually wearing a loincloth, a sword, and little else. He starred in Show 301, Cave Dwellers.
Here comes Art Buchwald again.
Art Buchwald (1925-2007) was a newspaper columnist who was syndicated around the globe. He won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1982.
“This island is their 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.
Appearing will be Don Ho!
Don Ho (1930-2007) was a Hawaiian singer familiar to many through his regular gig at Duke’s nightclub in Waikiki, although he also appeared in LA, Las Vegas, New York, and elsewhere and released a number of albums.
“What I’m concerned about is our lives.” And my Rob Roy.
A Rob Roy is a cocktail consisting of Scotch whisky, vermouth, and bitters, often topped with a maraschino cherry.
[Sung.] Yes, say yes to Martini & Rossi.
This is an old advertising jingle for Martini & Rossi dry vermouth, from an era when booze could still be advertised on the tube.
“The walls aren’t, doctor. They’re adobe.” Gillis.
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis was a TV sitcom about the romantic ups and downs of a young man, played by Dwayne Hickman; it aired from 1959-1963.
“You may be right.” I may be crazy.
A reference to the Billy Joel song “You May Be Right.” Sample lyrics: “You may be right/I may be crazy/But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.”
They’re setting up a quarters game.
Quarters is a drinking game in which players take turns seeing who can bounce a quarter off the table and into a glass—sometimes a beer mug, sometimes a shot glass; whoever makes the shot gets to choose someone at the table to consume the drink.
And roll the Brewmaster in here so it’s closer.
The Brewmaster is a refrigerated beer dispenser manufactured by Haier. (Thanks to Tom Carberry for this reference.)
“That’s why I’ve been thinking about you and me.” And Bobby McGee?
A reference to the Janis Joplin song “Me and Bobby McGee.” Sample lyrics: “You know feeling good was good enough for me/Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee.”
Let’s get out of here, Scooby!
An imitation of Shaggy from the Scooby-Doo animated TV series, which first aired in 1969. Shaggy was voiced by Casey Kasem, the well-known syndicated DJ.
He’s having his blood replaced.
Having one’s blood replaced is a medically improbable procedure rumored to be used on patients suffering from substance abuse problems: having their blood drained and replaced with new, untainted blood. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards has been dogged for years with rumors that he had his blood replaced in Switzerland.
No, no, you’ve got a granny knot.
The granny knot is the knot generally used to tie shoelaces. It is held in some contempt among knot aficionados due to its tendency to come untied.
It’s Dave Lennox and Dave Lennox in The Lint Trap!
This may be a reference to appliance manufacturer Dave Lennox. See note on The Parent Trap, above.
This is just like Alien! Except without the underwear.
Alien is a 1979 sci-fi/horror film that starred Sigourney Weaver as a spaceship crew member forced to fight off a rampaging—and peckish—alien aboard her ship. In the climactic scene, Weaver strips down to her underwear for one last fight to the death with the monster.
This is just like that Happy Days or Perfect Strangers or Full House or Empty Nest or Just the Ten of Us episode where they got stuck in the basement.
Happy Days was a sitcom set in the 1950s that aired from 1974-1984. Perfect Strangers was a sitcom about a straight-laced guy and his wacky immigrant cousin; it ran from 1986-1993. Full House was a sitcom about a talk-show host and his three daughters that ran from 1987-1995. Empty Nest was a sitcom about a widowed pediatrician in Miami that aired from 1988-1995. And Just the Ten of Us was a sitcom about a sports coach who moves to California, where his daughters are forced to attend an all-boys school; it ran from 1988-1990.
Oh, no, there’s a Teddy Roosevelt costume and some graves down here!
A reference to the play Arsenic and Old Lace, about a pair of old ladies who poison their “gentleman callers.” One member of the family, Teddy, believes himself to be Teddy Roosevelt and is attempting to excavate the Panama Canal in their basement—thus conveniently supplying the two elderly sisters, Martha and Abby, with ready-made graves.
S’allright under the stairs? –S’allright.
An imitation of Senor Wences (real name Wenceslao Moreno), a Spanish ventriloquist who made frequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was known for his comic banter with a hand puppet named Johnny and a puppet hidden in a box who went by the name of Pedro. He died in 1999 at the age of 103.
Milk-Bones ... rawhide chew toys ...
Milk-Bones are a brand of dog biscuit made by Kraft Foods.
Weasels ripped my flesh!
Weasels Ripped My Flesh is a 1970 album by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention.
I thought you said your dog would not bite. –It’s not my dog.
A line from The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), starring Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau, the bumbling protagonist. The full exchange:
Clouseau: Does your dog bite?
Hotel Clerk: No.
Clouseau: [bending down to pet the dog] Nice doggie.
[The dog barks and bites Clouseau’s hand.]
Clouseau: I thought you said your dog did not bite!
Hotel Clerk: That is not my dog.
It’s the booze brothers to the rescue.
Probably a play on the Blues Brothers, two R&B musician characters played by John Belushi (Jake Blues) and Dan Aykroyd (Elwood Blues). The pair started out as a running series of performances on Saturday Night Live; they later starred in their own feature film.
Beware the dwarf.
A line from the 1978 movie Foul Play, starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase.
What is it, boy?
This is an imitation of the television show Lassie, which aired from 1954-1974. Lassie, the hyperintelligent collie, was constantly hastening to warn her owners that various family members had fallen down wells or been trapped in cave-ins or pinned under tractors. Lassie appears in Show 510, The Painted Hills.
Where’d you hide the Cuervo?
Jose Cuervo is a brand of tequila.
Oh, he’s got rat scratch fever.
“Cat Scratch Fever” is a song by Ted Nugent, off the 1977 album of the same name.
Sounds like a Ludlum book.
Robert Ludlum (1927-2001) was a widely successful suspense author, selling more than 200 million books over the course of his career. Some of his better-known titles are The Osterman Weekend and The Bourne Identity.
“They are mutants.” Ted Muta-gents. –That’s a stretch.
See previous note on Ted Nugent.
Tonight: All Dogs Go to Hell.
All Dogs Go to Heaven is a 1989 animated film about a dog who comes back from the dead to find his killer.
If I had a hammer?
A reference to the Peter, Paul & Mary song “If I Had a Hammer.” Sample lyrics: “If I had a hammer/I'd hammer in the morning/I'd hammer in the evening/All over this land ...”
I like you. You're nice. You're pretty. But you're just a summer thing.
Possibly a reference to the 1978 movie Grease. (Thanks to Jim Cox for this reference.)
Storm the beaches at Normandy?
On June 6, 1944, a massive Allied invasion landed at Normandy, on the northern coast of France. It was the beginning of the final push to defeat the German forces in World War II.
He’s dead. As dead as vaudeville.
The earliest use of this phrase I could find was in a pulp detective story titled “Brunette Bump-off,” published in May 1938.
I hate snakes.
A line from the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. The full line: “I hate snakes, Jock! I hate ‘em!”
Lionel, stop trilling! Diana, stop trilling!
Lionel Trilling (1905-1975) was a literary critic; his wife, Diana Trilling (1905-1996), was a cultural and social critic.
[Sung.] How deadly is that doggie in the window ...
A paraphrase of the song “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” Sample lyrics: “How much is that doggie in the window/The one with the waggley tail ...”
[Sung.] Mission: Impossible theme.
This is the theme to the television show Mission: Impossible, which aired from 1966-1973.
“It’s gonna be daylight soon.” And me wanna go home.
This is a paraphrase of the “Banana Boat” song, made famous by Harry Belafonte: “Day-o, day-ay-ay-o/Daylight come and he wan´ go home.”
Starsky & Hutch was a TV cop show that ran from 1975-1979.
[Sung.] I am sixteen, going on seventeen ...
A line from the song “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from the musical The Sound of Music. Sample lyrics: “I am sixteen, going on seventeen/I know that I’m naive ...”
I’ve got to go make some raisin mash.
Raisin mash seems to be a type of homemade liquor; news stories from Prohibition mention agents seizing barrels of the stuff during raids on bootleggers’ stills.
The music sounds like Popeye.
Popeye was a series of short cartoons starring a diminutive sailor with a jones for spinach, his skinny girlfriend Olive Oyl, and his arch-nemesis, alternately called Brutus and Bluto.
Say, Jerry, I’ve been meaning to ask you: that coat, is it leather or vinyl? –Pleather, actually.
Pleather is a polyurethane fabric used as a sort of artificial leather in clothing. It has been around since the 1970s, but it became trendy in the 1990s.
Wow, that must be how Festus got his voice and limp.
While Ken Curtis did adopt a twangy, nasal voice for his role as Festus on Gunsmoke (see above note), he did not walk with a limp; that was Dennis Weaver, who played deputy Chester Goode.
See note on Festus, above.
Well, either he’s dead or they found Amelia Earhart’s stuff.
Amelia Earhart (1897-1937?) was a world-renowned aviator; in 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. Three years later she became the first person to successfully fly from Hawaii to California. In 1937 she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out on an attempt to fly around the world. Their plane disappeared in the central Pacific after completing two-thirds of the journey; the remains were never found.
Oh, a Dick Tracy cap gun.
Dick Tracy was the square-jawed hero detective of the comic strip by the same name, created by Chester Gould. They did actually make Dick Tracy cap guns; they were made of metal and used a paper roll of caps.
“They’re coming!” To take me away! –Ha ha!
A line from the song “They’re Coming to Take Me Away” by Napoleon XIV. Sample lyrics: “And they're coming to take me away ha ha/They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha ha/To the funny farm/Where life is beautiful all the time ...”
Here comes the Rat Pack! –Frank! Sammy! Dean! Joey!
The Rat Pack was a group of singers and actors in the 1960s who performed in Vegas, wore snappy clothes, gambled, drank, and womanized together, and when they had a spare moment, made movies like Ocean’s 11. The Pack consisted of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford.
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. Mike Connors (under the name “Touch Connors”) appeared in Show 503, Swamp Diamonds.
Hey, it’s Laugh-In, look!
Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In was a sketch comedy series that ran from 1968-1973.
Hey, looky, I found Ken Curtis, TV’s lovable Festus. Can I keep him?
See note on Festus, above.
Now Phyllis George is going to make them hug.
Phyllis George was crowned Miss America in 1971. Since then she has been a morning-show host, a sportscaster, an author, an actress, and first lady of Kentucky.
Twenty lashes with a wet noodle.
This phrase (more commonly rendered as “a hundred lashes with a wet noodle”), indicating that the person being addressed is deserving of chastisement, entered popular parlance courtesy of newspaper advice columnist Ann Landers (1918-2002).
The Shmoo? The great Shmoo?
The Shmoo was a creature that appeared periodically in the Al Capp comic strip “L’il Abner”; its first appearance was in 1948. The Shmoo (plural: Shmoon) loved being eaten and tasted like whatever people wanted. But paradoxically, their ready availability caused society to break down because people stopped working, and they were hunted almost to extinction. Shmoo merchandise was popular in the 1950s.
Enjoy in moderation, my ass!
“Enjoy in moderation” is a slogan often used by beer, wine, and liquor marketers to dodge accusations that they are promoting irresponsible behavior—while their ads show people whooping it up like there’s no tomorrow.
My hair I leave to Steve Allen, my sport coat I leave to ...
Steve Allen (1921-2000) was the original host of the Tonight Show, from 1954-1957.
Wow, he really cruised those five stages.
In 1969 psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her book On Death and Dying, in which she postulated that terminal patients pass through five separate stages when coming to grips with their mortality: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance.
She’s my sister! She’s my daughter!
A reference to the climactic scene of the 1974 film Chinatown, in which Jack Nicholson learns that thanks to an incestuous liaison, Faye Dunaway is both sister and mother to Katherine Cross.
Well, somebody’s going to jail, and it’s not gonna be me.
A line from It’s a Wonderful Life, after George Bailey discovers his S&L has lost eight grand due to the bungling of his uncle.
Hello, Lavoine. Hello, Shoil.
A reference to the TV sitcom Laverne and Shirley, which ran from 1976-1983.
Hey, I found a wheat penny!
The wheat penny is a U.S. coin featuring Abraham Lincoln on the front and a sheaf of wheat on the back. They were minted from 1909-1958, when the wheat was replaced with a depiction of the Lincoln Memorial.
Oh, he must be the Dr. Smith of this movie.
Dr. Zachary Smith, as played by Jonathan Harris, was the mincing, villainous stowaway/saboteur on the TV series Lost in Space, which aired from 1965-1968.
Sort of like a Personal Pan Pizza!
Personal Pan Pizzas are individual-sized pizzas served at Pizza Hut. They were introduced, with much fanfare and a five-minute guarantee, in 1983.
Shrew Be Gone! We’re saved!
Roach Be Gone is a product that boasts it kills roaches and ants by “dehydrating their bodies.” Ick.
Oh, it’s Flashdance.
Flashdance is a 1983 movie that starred Jennifer Beals as a steelworker with dreams of becoming a dancer.
How about a little fire, doggie?
A paraphrase of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz: "How about a little fire, Scarecrow?" (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
So what we’re doing here, Bob, is this ...
An imitation of Norm Abram, the master carpenter on the home-improvement TV show This Old House, which first aired in 1979. “Bob” refers to Bob Vila, who was the host of the show from 1979-1989.
When bad dogs happen to good people.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book by Harold Kushner that examines the age-old question of why God allows good people to suffer.
“We should be able to duck-walk to the beach.” Oh, like Chuck Berry.
Chuck Berry is an R&B singer/songwriter/guitarist whose songs like “Maybelline” and “Johnny B. Goode” helped usher in the era of rock & roll.
Jerry, this is Father O’Malley, boy. Get down from there, will ya?
May be a reference to Bing Crosby’s character in Going My Way (1944), though there is also a series of jokes featuring a Father O’Malley.
Hey, we’ve got some Cutty down here—nummy nummy, Jerry.
Cutty Sark is a brand of Scotch whisky.
A fiddler on the roof—how fortunate.
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical set in a small Jewish village in 1905 Russia, revolving around a man and his three marriageable daughters. It opened on Broadway in 1964 and ran for more than three thousand performances; it was made into a movie in 1971.
[Sung.] Walking down the street/Get the funniest …
The theme to The Monkees TV show, which aired from 1966-1968. Sample lyrics: “Here we come/Walking down the street/We get the funniest looks from/Everyone we meet/Hey, hey we're the Monkees …”
Regrets? I’ve had a few.
A line from Frank Sinatra’s signature tune “My Way.” Sample lyrics: “Regrets, I've had a few/But then again, too few to mention ...”
Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.
This line is how syndicated DJ Casey Kasem signs off his American Top 40 radio show every week.
Nice socks, though. Even as Festus I admired his hosiery.
See note on Festus, above.
It’s Festus buffet!
See note on Festus, above.
I’m on the Merrimack here.
The Merrimack was an ironclad warship for the Confederacy in the American Civil War. On March 9, 1862, it fought a famous battle against the Union ship Monitor; the battle was indecisive, but it is generally considered the start of the era of modern naval warfare.
“In twenty-four hours there’ll be one shrew left on the island.” [Sung.] To carry on, to carry on ...
A reference to the song “And When I Die” by Blood Sweat and Tears. Sample lyrics: “And when I die, and when I’m gone/There’ll be one child born in this world/To carry on, to carry on.”