416: Fire Maidens of Outer Space
by Wyn Hilty
Hey! [Sung.] Comin’ into Los Alamos … bringing in some cadmium rods …
A parody of the Arlo Guthrie song "Coming into Los Angeles." Los Alamos National Laboratory was the site of the development of the first nuclear bomb, during World War II. It is still one of two sites in the nation that sees work on nuclear weapons, along with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (Thanks to Matt Czupryna for the Guthrie reference.)
Yes, in Los Alamos fly Alamogordo Airlines.
See previous note on Los Alamos. Alamogordo is a town in New Mexico. On July 16, 1945, 60 miles from the air base at Alamogordo, the first atomic bomb was exploded. The following month, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, ending World War II.
Oh, I bet George Kennedy’s in this.
George Kennedy is an actor who has appeared in more than 200 movies and television shows, including The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Airport (1970).
Mr. Secretary, the next sound you hear will be a high-pitched squeal. That’ll be the sound of the ambassador’s phone melting.
"I'm told that what we will hear will be a high, shrill sound. That will be the ambassador's telephone melting from the heat of the fireball" is a line from the 1964 Sidney Lumet film Fail Safe, starring Henry Fonda and Frank Overton. (Thanks to Kurt Steidl for this reference.)
Cy Roth—maker of films and fine candies.
Probably a reference to the Ross line of chocolates.
I am the maiden of hellfire.
“I am the god of hellfire” is the opening line to the Arthur Brown song “Fire.”
Fire maidens really grip the road.
Firestone are a brand of tires manufactured by Bridgestone.
[Sung.] Maya Koumani, my darling …
A paraphrase of the song “Vaya con Dios,” written by Larry Russel, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper. The actual lyrics: “Now the hacienda’s dark, the town is sleeping/Now the time has come to part, the time for weeping/Vaya con Dios, my darling/May God be with you, my love.”
Ian Struthers and Scott MacGregor here on the Old Course at St. Andrews.
St. Andrews is a venerable golf course in Scotland. The original course consisted of twenty-two holes, which was shortened to eighteen in 1764, thus creating the first modern golf course. The Old Course is still available for play, hosting the Open Championship in 2005.
Prince Igor-Borodin? Isn’t it Prince Rogers Nelson?
Prince Rogers Nelson is the name Minneapolis musician Prince was born under.
You know, even Quinn Martin was a Cy Roth production.
Quinn Martin (1922-1987) was a prolific television producer in the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s; his series included The Untouchables and The Fugitive. For 21 years, he always had at least one series running on network TV, and at times as many as four at once.
[Hummed.] “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”
“When Johnny Comes Marching Home” is a Civil War-era song written in 1863 by Patrick Gilmore and set to the tune of an old Irish folk song. In the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the song plays on the soundtrack during part of the scene set inside the bomber.(Thanks to John Ames for the Dr. Strangelove reference.)
“An expedition …” That will live in infamy.
On December 8, 1941, in the wake of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to declare war on Japan. He began his speech, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”
Oh, no, they’re bombing Levittown!
Levittown was the first planned community built in the United States. Occupying 5,500 acres in Pennsylvania, the town offered housing for 70,000 people, as well as churches, schools and stores. It was completed in 1958, and while it was roundly criticized by some for being soulless, it has been widely imitated by other builders in the fifty years since its inception.
It’s the Beatles! Ahhhhhh!
The Beatles were a staggeringly influential British rock band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. They produced a lengthy string of number one hits, inspired countless bands, caused riots among female teenage fans, annoyed the Establishment and generally set the stage for the rock & roll revolution of the 1960s.
[Sung.] It’s been a hard day’s …
A line from the Beatles song “A Hard Day’s Night.” Sample lyrics: “It's been a hard day's night, and I been working like a dog/It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log/But when I get home to you/I'll find the things that you do/Will make me feel all right …”
Kind of looks like a Snoopy plane—got a friendly dog face on it.
Snoopy is the beagle in the Charles Schultz comic strip “Peanuts.” He is fond of dressing up and pretending to be a WWI flying ace on top of his doghouse.
This is not Spooner, Wisconsin. It’s still London.
Spooner is a town in the northwest corner of Wisconsin. Population: about 2,500.
Keep left! Darn Labour Party.
The Labour Party is a British political party founded in 1900, one of two (along with the Conservatives) major parties in the U.K. It presided over the nationalization of industry and the creation of a considerable social safety net in Britain in the wake of World War II. After it took a more conservative bent in the 1990s, it remained in power for a number of years under the leadership of Tony Blair.
The big, big trailer!
The Long, Long Trailer is a 1954 film starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as a couple on their honeymoon in a trailer.
Here, it’s on this piece of Laffy Taffy.
Laffy Taffy is a kind of candy produced by Willy Wonka. It comes in a variety of flavors: banana, cherry, chocolate, grape, orange, sour apple, strawberry, and watermelon.
[Sung.] I have often walked …
A line from the song “On the Street Where You Live,” from the musical My Fair Lady. Sample lyrics: “I have often walked down this street before/But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before/All at once am I sev’ral stories high/Knowing I’m on the street where you live.”
I’m Gary Owens from beautiful downtown Burbank.
Gary Owens was the afternoon DJ for radio station KMPC in Los Angeles for more than twenty years. He also acted as the announcer on the TV series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.
Or I’m not Norman Rockwell.
“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.
[Sung.] A secretary is not a toy …
A line from the song “A Secretary Is Not a Toy” from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Sample lyrics: “Gentlemen. Gentlemen/A secretary is not a toy/No, my boy, not a toy/To fondle and dandle and playfully handle/In search of some puerile joy.”
And now Red in the silent spot. Red’s a secretary …
A reference to The Red Skelton Show, a TV sketch comedy series that aired from 1951-1971. The “Silent Spot” was a regular feature on the show, a brief skit without words that showcased Skelton’s skill at pantomime in a variety of roles.
“Be sure to code that message.” Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma.
In the Walter M. Miller novel A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959), a community of monks struggles to rebuild civilization in the wake of the apocalypse with the guidance of a cryptic note written by the Blessed Saint Leibowitz: “Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels—bring home for Emma.”
[Sung.] There she goes, Mrs. Secretary …
A paraphrase of the song “There She Is, Miss America” by Bernie Wayne, the official theme song to the Miss America pageant. Sample lyrics: “There she is, Miss America/There she is, your ideal/The dreams of a million girls/Who are more than pretty/May come true in Atlantic City …”
Mmm. Baby got back.
“Baby Got Back” is a 1992 song by hip-hop artist Sir Mix-a-Lot; it hit number one on the Billboard charts in the summer of that year. Sample lyrics: “I like big butts and I cannot lie/You other brothers can't deny/That when a girl walks in with an itty-bitty waist/And a round thing in your face ...”
Rowan and Martin.
Dan Rowan and Dick Martin were the hosts of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a sketch comedy series that ran from 1968-1973.
“Stand by.” For action!
"Stand by for action! We are about to launch Stingray! Anything can happen in the next half-hour!" were the opening lines to the children’s TV series Stingray, which aired from 1964-1965. The Supermarionation show featured puppets on board a sophisticated submarine.
1944. Peenemunde. Hitler readies his V-2s for England.
Peenemunde is a small town in northeastern Germany. During World War II it was the site of the GermanHeeresversuchsanstalt program, a weapons program concerned with developing the V-1 and V-2 rockets.The site was the target of frequent raids by the Allies, but they never succeeded in destroying it.
Tommy Cash is the brother of famed country musician Johnny Cash. He also became a country musician, but the success enjoyed by his older brother eluded him; the closest he came was a couple of Top Ten hits in 1970.
And Bob Crosby!
Bob Crosby (1913-1993) was a bandleader and the younger brother of crooner Bing Crosby. His Bob Crosby Orchestra and the smaller group the Bobcats were quite successful with their brand of Dixieland jazz during the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1950s he had his own half-hour TV series, The Bob Crosby Show.
And there’s Peter Aykroyd!
Peter Aykroyd is the younger brother of comedian Dan Aykroyd. He appeared on Saturday Night Live for one year (1979-1980) and has appeared in a number of his older brother’s films, including Doctor Detroit (1983) and Coneheads (1993).
Sounds like Mariah Carey.
Mariah Carey is a soprano pop singer who hit it big in the early 1990s with hits like “Emotions” and “Hero.”
What is this, a Bergman film?
Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007 was a writer/director/producer/actor who was one of the most highly respected filmmakers of the 20th century. His films include The Seventh Seal (1957), Persona (1966), and Cries and Whispers (1972).
I’m Ed Bradley, and this is 60 Minutes.
60 Minutes is a news show that has been on the air since 1968. Ed Bradley (1941-2006) was a correspondent on the show for 26 years, starting in 1981.
Willa Cather (1873-1947) was a highly respected American novelist whose best-known works include O Pioneers! and Death Comes for the Archbishop.
And the old clock on the wall says it’s time for the Longines Symphonette hour.
The Longines Symphonette was a classical music radio show that ran from 1943-1957. It was sponsored by the Longines watch company. (Thanks to John Ames for this reference.)
Cubby! –Roy! –Lonnie! –Bobby! –Darlene!
Cubby O’Brien, Roy Williams, Lonnie Burr, Bobby Burgess, and Darlene Gillespie were all Mouseketeers on the TV show The Mickey Mouse Club, which aired from 1955-1959.
Hey, it’s the Purina rocketship! Checkerboard fins.
Purina is a manufacturer of pet food. Their logo features a red-and-white checkerboard design.
We have A&E documentary.
The Arts & Entertainment Network, or A&E as it is more commonly known, is a basic cable channel that shows documentaries and second-run shows like Crossing Jordan.
Tonight on Biography …
Biography is a successful documentary series on A&E (see previous note).
[Sung.] The shiny little surrey with the houndspoint on top …
A paraphrase of the song “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” from the musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry/When I take you out in the surrey/When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!”
[Sung.] I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date …
A line from the song “I’m Late,” from Alice in Wonderland, sung by the White Rabbit. Sample lyrics: “I'm late, I'm late for a very important date/No time to say hello, good-bye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late/I'm late and when I wave, I lose the time I save/My fuzzy ears and whiskers took me too much time to shave.”
Now that guy’s the posture king.
A reference to the short “Posture Pals,” from Show 320, The Unearthly.
Now look, Sergeant Bat Guano, if that really is your name ...
A paraphrase of a line from the 1964 film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: "Now look, Colonel Bat Guano, if that really is your name ..." (Thanks to Kurt Steidl for this reference.)
It’s Nancy Kulp night.
Nancy Kulp (1921-1991) was an actress best known for playing the part of secretary Jane Hathaway onThe Beverly Hillbillies (1962-1971).
So’d you see Aguilera last night blow that game?
Rick Aguilera was a relief pitcher for the Minnesota Twins from 1989-1999.
A lot of people praying for George Bailey.
The 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life opens with a montage of voices praying for hero George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart).
Oh, they must work for Clinique.
Clinique is a brand of cosmetics and skin-care products manufactured by Estee Lauder.
The four dullards of the apocalypse.
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are figures in the Book of Revelation in the Bible. They are traditionally identified as War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death, although only Death is specifically named in the Bible.
It’s Poppycock! –It’s Fiddle-Faddle! –It’s Mr. Bulky gone bad!
Poppycock and Fiddle-Faddle are snacks made with glazed popcorn and nuts, similar to Cracker Jacks. Mr. Bulky is a franchise chain of sweet shops.
It’s George Tobias!
George Tobias (1901-1980) was a character actor best known for playing neighbor Abner Kravitz on the TV series Bewitched (1964-1972).
He has a Monte Markham quality about him.
Monte Markham is an actor who has appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows. From 1989 to 1992, he played Captain Don Thorpe on Baywatch. He was also a regular on Melrose Place.
So that Aguilera, he blew two last night!
See note on Rick Aguilera, above.
Grand Forks or bust!
Grand Forks is a town in North Dakota, on the border with Minnesota. In 1997 it was the scene of catastrophic flooding on the Red River.
We’ve got to help George Bailey!
See note on It’s a Wonderful Life, above.
A reference to those “Draw Me!” ads that used to be found on matchbooks, in comics, etc. They usually featured a turtle named Tippy, but sometimes had other subjects, like Spunky (not Sparky) the Donkey, Cubby the Bear, or a pirate named Mr. Blunderbuss. The ads promoted Art Instruction Schools, a correspondence art school founded in Minneapolis in 1914 by Joseph Almars.
Clarence Oddbody is a fool! –I know, but he has the faith of a child.
Clarence Oddbody is the bumbling angel in It’s a Wonderful Life (see above note). He is described as having “the IQ of a rabbit and the faith of a child.”
Hey, It’s a Wonderful Life is on!
See above note.
I like that flick. I like George Bailey.
See above note.
Gee, your hair smells terrific.
A reference to a line of shampoos and conditioners popular during the 1970s, which went by the cumbersome if memorable name “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific.”
[Sung.] It’s the land of Dairy Queen … They treat you right.
A reference to an old advertising jingle for the Dairy Queen chain of restaurants: “In the land of DairyQueen, we treat you right!”
Hello? Hello … hello … hello?
A classic Three Stooges routine, in which they pop out from behind one another, each saying hello in turn.
Here, just a minute. [Sung.] Fly me to the moon …
“Fly Me to the Moon” is a classic Frank Sinatra tune. Sample lyrics: “Fly me to the moon/Let me sing among those stars/Let me see what spring is like/On Jupiter and Mars.”
[Sung.] Benedicamus domino …
“Benedicamus domino” is an invocation usually said at the end of the Catholic Mass.
Look, they’re heading for a Van Gogh.
Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) was a Dutch painter whose works became astoundingly popular after his death, fetching record amounts at auctions and featuring in touring exhibitions. Tom pronounces the name “van goff,” which is the way Europeans say his name (as opposed to the American version, “van go”).
King Dinosaur! That’s from King Dinosaur! I’m leaving.
A reference to Show 210, King Dinosaur.
Oh, they're riding in a Sheaffer Crazy Writer.
Apparently the Sheaffer pen company had a pen back in the 1970s or so called the Crazy Writer; what exactly made it so crazy is unclear. (Thanks to Janelle Jundt for this reference.)
They’re having 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.
Salem does satisfy.
Salem cigarettes are a brand of cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds. They were first introduced in 1956.
Can it, Dave. It’s what’s up front that counts.
“It’s what’s up front that counts” is an old advertising slogan for Winston cigarettes.
You know, these new Belvederes really are mild.
Belvedere is another brand of cigarette.
[Sung.] Doo doo doo doo doo hey! Doo doo doo doo doo hey! Doo doo doo doo doo hey! Doo doo doo doo doo hey!
Classic conga line music. The conga is a Latin American line dance introduced to the United States by Desi Arnaz in the late 1930s.
Oh, that’s an effect that took some thought. Look, they went to a Hardware Hank.
Hardware Hank is a chain of retail hardware stores in the United States. It is based in Minnesota.
That’s one small tush for a man, one unshapely thigh for mankind.
A variation on astronaut Neil Armstrong’s famous words at the Apollo moon landing: “That's one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Jupiter, America’s dairyland.
“America’s Dairyland” is one of the many nicknames for Wisconsin, appearing on that state’s license plates.
Stay off the moors! Stay off the moors!
“Stay off the moors” is the excellent if unheeded advice given to the hapless American tourists in the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London.
How’d you like it if we picked your apples?
A paraphrased line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz: "How would you like it if someone picked apples off of you?"
Eat at Joe’s … eat at Joe’s …
“Eat at Joe’s” was an advertising slogan that popped up frequently in the old Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons.
Run away! Run away!
“Run away!” was screamed by King Arthur (played by Graham Chapman) in the 1975 comedy Monty Python and the Holy Grail as the French hurled cows at his party.
[Sung.] Benny Hill theme.
This is the theme to skit comedy show The Benny Hill Show, which ran on British television for 20 years, beginning in 1969. The series was characterized by risqué humor of the burlesque-show variety, high-speed chases set to bouncy music, and lots of curvaceous women in skimpy bikinis.
[Sung.] There is a fire maiden … those chariots of fire maidens …
This is sung to the tune of the theme to the 1981 film Chariots of Fire, written by a Greek composer named Vangelis; he won an Oscar for his work.
Did anybody bring the Deep Woods Off!? You know, when you’re in the woods … oh, never mind.
Deep Woods Off! is an insect repellent used to fend off mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas, among other pests. The second sentence should read in its entirety, "You know, when you're in the woods, you can't beat Off." (Thanks to Marissa Wilk for supplying the punchline.)
Refers to a famous line from the Peter Falk/Alan Arkin movie The In-Laws: “Serpentine, Sheldon, serpentine!”
A planet where apes evolved from men?
A line from the 1968 film Planet of the Apes.
Is this some sort of Outward Bound thing here?
Outward Bound is a group that offers “wilderness adventures” for kids, teens, and adults, although students are their primary focus. They promise to teach teamwork, self-confidence, and self-reliance through a variety of activities, including rock climbing, kayaking, dog-sledding, and more. The organization was founded in 1962.
Higgins. Oh, Higgins.
Jonathan Higgins was the supercilious caretaker on the TV show Magnum, P.I.; the part was played by John Hillerman.
[Sung.] Rollercoaster …
A line from the 1975 song “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players. Sample lyrics: “Rollercoaster of love/Oh yeah it's rollercoaster time/Lovin' you is really wild/Oh it’s just a love rollercoaster/Step right up and get your tickets.”
Hello … hello … hello … hello!
See note on the Three Stooges, above.
Oh, no, there are Kennedys on the planet!
The Kennedy family’s reputation has been marred by a number of sex scandals over the years. More specifically, in 1991, William Kennedy Smith, Senator Ted Kennedy’s nephew, was accused of raping a woman he met at a nightclub; he was ultimately acquitted.
Frankenstein is an 1818 novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley about a scientist who transgresses the laws of God by bringing a dead man back to life. It has been adapted to film countless times, with the most famous being the 1931 version starring Boris Karloff. Although the monster is often referred to as Frankenstein, the name more properly belongs to the monster’s creator, Victor Frankenstein; the creature himself is never named.
Donna Douglas (1932-2015) was an actress best known for her portrayal of Elly May Clampett on the TV show The Beverly Hillbillies, which aired from 1962-1971.
Meryl Streep meets Laura Dern.
Meryl Streep is a highly respected actress who has appeared in more than 50 films, including Sophie’s Choice (1982) and Out of Africa (1985). Laura Dern is an actress (daughter of actors Bruce Dern and Diane Ladd) who has appeared in such films as Wild at Heart (1990) and Jurassic Park (1993).
Jeez, it’s the planet of the Ropers.
Helen and Stanley Roper (Audra Lindley and Norman Fell) were the suspicious landlords in the TV sitcom Three’s Company. In 1979 the Ropers got their own TV series, but it only lasted one season.
[Sung.] Doo doo doo doo doo hey! Doo doo doo doo doo hey! Doo doo doo doo doo hey!
See note about the conga line, above.
Old Spice out! Splash it … on!
Old Spice is a line of men’s fragrance manufactured by Procter & Gamble.
Fire up the grills, girls—time for Manwiches.
Manwich is a brand of canned sloppy joe mix made by Hunt’s, and made famous by the 1970s slogan “A sandwich is a sandwich but a Manwich is a meal.”
Oh, wait a minute, this is a Star Trek set!
Star Trek was a classic TV sci-fi series set aboard the Starship Enterprise. It starred William Shatner as the dashing Captain James T. Kirk. It aired from 1966-1969.
An imitation of William Shatner as Captain Kirk (see previous note). Mr. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy) was his science officer and second-in-command.
Probably a reference to the “normal” character on The Munsters, Marilyn Munster (played in succession by Beverley Owen and Pat Priest). The show ran from 1964-1966.
Either these drapes go or we do.
According to some sources, Victorian poet and playwright Oscar Wilde’s last words were “Either those curtains go or I do.” Other versions give conflicting accounts of his last words: “Either that wallpaper goes or I do,” or “I suppose I shall have to die beyond my means.”
They can all be yours if the price is right!
This well-known phrase is spoken by the announcer on the long-running television game show The Price Is Right. Johnny Olsen was the announcer from 1972-1985; Rod Roddy took over the job in 1986 until his death in 2003.
The answer is Reykjavik.
Reykjavik is the capital of Iceland. As of 2000, its population stood at just over 100,000.
Fred Mertz! Oh, close your robe.
Fred Mertz was the husband to Lucy’s best friend Ethel on the TV sitcom I Love Lucy (1951-1957); the part was played by William Frawley (1887-1966).
Oh, they won a Golden Globe.
The Golden Globes are entertainment industry awards handed out yearly by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The award statuette looks like a globe circled by a strip of film.
Kind of looks like Brian Keith’s room in A Family Affair.
Family Affair, which aired from 1966 to 1971, starred Brian Keith as Bill Davis, a carefree swinging bachelor who suddenly found himself in custody of three orphans, whom he cared for with the assistance of his supercilious valet, Mr. French.
[Sung.] So very happy …
A line from the 1969 song “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” by Blood, Sweat & Tears. Sample lyrics: “You always showed me that/Loving you was where it's at/You made me so very happy/I'm so glad you came into my life yeah …”
Viva Las Vegas!
Viva Las Vegas is a 1964 film about a young race car driver in Las Vegas for a car race; it starred Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret. Elvis also performed the title song.
These are kola nuts.
Kola nuts are native to African rain forests. They contain some caffeine and are sometimes chewed as a stimulant. They were originally used to make cola drinks, but nowadays most colas use artificial flavoring.In the early 1970s, 7 Up (the "Uncola") had a series of TV commercials starring Trinidadian Geoffrey Holder. Saying, "These are kola nuts," he goes on to explain the difference between those and "uncola nuts" (lemons and limes). He finishes by drinking some 7 Up and saying "Mahh-velous. Just try making that out of a kola nut!" with his gorgeously rich laugh. (Thanks to Jay Young for this reference.)
Well, father knows best.
Father Knows Best was originally a radio show that later made the jump to television; the TV version aired from 1954-1960. It starred Robert Young as a bumbling family man.
“Fiddle-dee-dee” is the catchphrase of archetypal Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara, from the Margaret Mitchell novel (and later the movie) Gone With the Wind.
Melba toast is a dry, thin-sliced toast named after Dame Nellie Melba, an Australian opera singer.
They all look like waitresses at Caesars Palace.
Caesars Palace is an immense hotel/casino located on the famous Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. It opened in 1966.
What’s this? Femme fatales dancing dervishly to tantalize our dynamic duo?
An imitation of the announcer from the 1966 TV series Batman, starring Adam West. The announcer, who was voiced by executive producer William Dozier, led into commercial breaks with similarly portentous phrases.
I think these are the fifteen vestal virgins who were headed for the coast.
A paraphrase of a line from the Procol Harum song “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” Actual lyrics: “One of sixteen vestal virgins/Who were leaving for the coast/And although my eyes were open/They might just as well been closed.”
I keep expecting Deney Terrio to pop out somewhere.
Deney Terrio was a dancer and host of the TV series Dance Fever from 1979 to 1985. He won fame as the man who taught John Travolta his famous disco moves for the film Saturday Night Fever.
I see London, I see France …
An old playground taunt: “I see London, I see France. I see [insert name]’s underpants!”
[Sung.] Watching Underoos is fun … I can see the dancers’ buns.
“Wearing Underoos is fun/And you can choose from more than one” is an old advertising slogan for the kids’ underwear line.
Is that Jon Cryer back there?
Jon Cryer is an actor best known for his portrayal of Duckie in the 1986 film Pretty in Pink.
See note on Peenemunde, above.
You don’t call Jupiter with Friends & Family, for crying out loud.
Friends & Family was a calling plan offered by phone company MCI in the 1990s; it gave customers a discount when they called fellow MCI customers in their “calling circle.”
[Chanted.] Oh, mighty bomb …
In the 1970 film Beneath the Planet of the Apes, a subterranean group of telepathic humans worship an unexploded bomb.
The Great Garloo!
The Great Garloo was a toy manufactured by Marx in the 1960s; it was a green, battery-operated monster.
Dutch Masters cigars feature a well-known picture of a group of men in old-fashioned clothes and hats. The illustration is modeled after Rembrandt van Rijn’s painting Syndics of the Drapers’ Guild (1662).
So, do you save the coupons? –How do you think I got this spaceship?
Cigarette companies have long tried to encourage brand loyalty (which is notoriously weak among smokers) by including coupons for various prizes, with the idea being to collect enough of them to redeem them for a prize.
Oh, hey, this is like that episode of Here Come the Brides where Candy was getting married to Jeremy and all the women gave her a shower and then she …
Here Come the Brides was a TV show that aired from 1968-1970. It focused on the adventures of three brothers in the Pacific Northwest in the 1870s, who, in an effort to save their sawmill, bring out 100 women as prospective brides for their loggers. Candy Pruitt was played by Bridget Hanley; Jeremy Bolt was played by Bobby Sherman.
Hey, she’s got a Brannock device.
The Brannock device is that little metal dealie that shoe salesmen use to measure your feet to determine your shoe size. It was designed in 1927 by Charles Brannock.
He’s at a 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.”
A reference to Show 104, Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
Again? What do you think I am, Dylan Thomas?
Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was a Welsh poet (he wrote the famous lines “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage against the dying of the light”). While he enjoyed professional and critical success, he was perennially hounded by the tax man and had a serious drinking problem, which led his marriage into difficulties. He died of alcohol poisoning after a particularly heavy binge in 1953.
Try some Saltines, and if it stays down you can go to school.
Saltines are a brand of cracker made by Nabisco.
Say, lady, where’s the biffy?
In the Upper Midwest (like, say, Minnesota), “biffy” is slang for toilet.
Maybe she’s an Ellen Jamesian.
The Ellen Jamesians were a group of women in the John Irving novel The World According to Garp. Out of empathy for an 11-year-old girl named Ellen James, whose rapist cut her tongue after attacking her so that she could not identify him, they have had their tongues surgically removed and communicate by writing on small slips of paper.
What color is your parachute?
What Color Is Your Parachute? is a 1970 book by Richard Bolles that offered practical advice for job seekers. It is one of the best-selling books of all time, with more than 6 million copies in print.
There are any number of Bass Lakes, but I’m going to go with the one in northern Minnesota.
Yes, we have joy, we have fun, we have seasons in the … you know.
A reference to the Terry Jacks song “Seasons in the Sun.” Sample lyrics: “We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun/But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time …”
You’re no god to us, mister!
A paraphrase of a line from the Star Trek episode “Who Mourns for Adonais?” Kirk’s actual line: “If you want to play god and call yourself Apollo, that’s your business. But you’re no god to us!”
Why are the Bangles serving him breakfast?
The Bangles were a girl band during the 1980s who hit it big with songs like “Walk Like an Egyptian” and “Manic Monday.”
Swedish nursing team.
The Swedish bikini team was a group of attractive blondes clad in bikinis who appeared in a series of commercials for Old Milwaukee beer in the 1990s. Pressure from groups angry about the commercials’ portrayal of women forced the company to drop the campaign after a few months.
This is of course Borodin’s thrilling Waking Suite.
Alexander Borodin (1833-1887) was a 19th-century Russian scientist and composer known for his opera Prince Igor.
Mm-hmm, that’s good breakfast!
An impression of Jackie Gleason’s character Reginald Van Gleason III, from The Jackie Gleason Show. He would take a swallow of a drink and exclaim in the character’s reedy voice, “Mmm, that’s good booze!”
Is this the Hugh Hefner planet?
Hugh Hefner, a.k.a. “Hef,” is the founder of Playboy magazine and one of the last bastions of the 1960s bachelor lifestyle.
Hey, look, ladies, I’m no Wilt Chamberlain.
Pro basketball player Wilt Chamberlain bragged in his 1991 biography that he had had sex with 20,000 women. The revelation made him the butt of jokes by comedians and the target of conservatives’ ire for his promiscuity.
Looks like Ric Ocasek in a union suit.
Rick Ocasek was the lead singer/guitarist for the rock band The Cars, which had a string of hits in the 1980s, including “You Might Think,” “Shake It Up,” and “Here She Comes.”
It’s Grace Jones!
Grace Jones is a Jamaican-American singer, actress, and model who became famous in the 1980s with such new wave hits as “Killer Kiss” and “Slave to the Rhythm” and performances in films like Conan the Destroyer (1984).
Oh, yeah, well, you know what I did, I told my agent to get me a part in a film with more action? So after this he signed me up for this film called Sleep with Andy Warhol?
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was an American artist who was a central figure in founding the Pop Art movement. He became famous for his multicolored portraits of pop culture icons like actress Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s soup cans. He was also known for making bizarre films, including 1963’s Sleep, a five-hour-plus ordeal featuring the slumbers of poet John Giorno.
Yeah, I told my agent the same thing. So after this I’m doing a film called My Dinner with Andre.
My Dinner with Andre is a 1981 film about two men (played by Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory) having dinner in a restaurant and exchanging brittle bon mots. The film is a favorite among the arty crowd and is frequently cited as the epitome of art-house fare.
Geez, the Bataan Death March was less painful than this.
The Bataan Death March was a forced march of American and Filipino prisoners of war during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines in World War II. Of the 70,000 prisoners who set out on the march from the Bataan Peninsula to a POW camp, only 54,000 arrived; the rest died on the way or escaped into the jungle. After the war, the Japanese commander in the Philippines was executed for his role in the march.
I think he looks like Henry Silva. Look at the jawline.
Henry Silva is a Puerto Rican actor known for playing heavies. His films include Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and The Manchurian Candidate (1962).
Hey, some morels.
Morels are a variety of edible mushrooms.
Breakfast with Carl Sandburg.
Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was an American poet, essayist, and novelist who lived in Chicago for much of his life and wrote many poems about that city.
[Sung.] Say yes, yes to Martini & Rossi on the rocks …
“Say Yes” is a jingle for Martini & Rossi vermouth from the early 1970s; it was performed by Burt Bacharach.
Right now I’m thinking of MD 20/20. It’s the wine of the century, you know.
MD 20/20 is a fortified wine produced by the Mogen David winery, with an alcohol content of about 18 percent. Because it is both cheap and potent, it is a favorite among teenagers and winos, with whom it has earned the nickname “Mad Dog.” Its label bears the slogan “Wine of the Century.”
I’m coming, Lizabeth!
A reference to the TV series Sanford and Son, which aired from 1972-1977. When Fred Sanford (played by Redd Foxx) wanted to manipulate his son, he would fake a heart attack and call out to his dead wife, “It’s the big one! I’m comin’, Lizabeth!”
Tip O’Neill, ladies and gentlemen, Tip O’Neill.
Tip O’Neill (1912-1994) was a Democratic politician who served in the House of Representatives for 34 years. From 1977-1987, he was the Speaker of the House and emerged in the 1980s as a vocal critic of the Reagan administration’s policies.
No, no, not with the “Stranger in Paradise” again!
“Stranger in Paradise” is a song from the 1953 musical Kismet; the music for the song was taken from Polovetsian Dances by Alexander Borodin (see above note).
The hills have thighs … eyes, eyes.
The Hills Have Eyes is a 1977 horror flick by Wes Craven, the auteur behind the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. It is about a family whose car breaks down on their way to California; they are promptly attacked by savages. It was remade by Alejandro Aja in 2006.
“How do we get to the entrance?” Practice?
A reference to the old joke: “How do you get to the Met? Practice!”
Mork to Orson! Mork calling Orson!
“Mork calling Orson! Come in, Orson!” is a line from the TV comedy Mork & Mindy, which aired from 1978-1982. It starred Robin Williams as an alien sent to Earth to study its inhabitants. Orson was his mission commander, to whom Mork made regular reports.
Blair Brown is an actress who has appeared in numerous TV shows and films, including One Trick Pony (1980) and The Astronaut’s Wife (1999).
Blair Underwood is an actor well-known for his role on the TV series L.A. Law in the 1980s and 1990s.
A reference to the Stan Freberg song "John and Marsha," which in itself is probably a reference to an ad campaign that ran during the 1950s for Snowdrift shortening.
Blair! The moment I met you I swear!
A paraphrase of the song “Clair” by Gilbert O’Sullivan. Sample lyrics: “Clair/The moment I met you, I swear/I felt as if something, somewhere/Had happened to me, which I couldn't see …”
Number 3: The larch.
A reference to the skit “How to Recognize Different Types of Trees from Quite a Long Way Away” from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Um, Dad, the Three Stooges are here to see you. Dad?
The Three Stooges were a comedy trio with a varying lineup that appeared in nearly 200 short films.
Tonight on “Music Through the Night”: Suite for a Drunken Dad.
“Music Through the Night” is a late-night music program produced by Minnesota Public Radio.
In the Bible, God speaks to Moses from out of a burning bush, promising him that he will deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt.
Peenemunde … ouch!
See note about Peenemunde, above.
If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again. If you’d like to make a call …
This is the classic message used by the phone company when you fail to complete a call. The voice belongs to actress/singer Jane Barbe, who also recorded such classic messages as “We’re sorry, your call cannot be completed as dialed” and “The number you have reached has been changed. The new number is …”
Oh, I hate Hell Week.
Hell Week is a charming tradition among fraternities and sororities in which pledges, or young men/women who have been accepted into the fraternity/sorority are harassed, humiliated, tortured, driven out to the desert and abandoned, and, on occasion, branded. This is in some way supposed to build intense loyalty to the fraternity/sorority and produce bonding among the group of torturees.
Join Camp Fire Girls and become a leader.
Camp Fire USA is a youth organization founded (as Camp Fire Girls) in 1910; the outfit went coed in 1975. It focuses on community service, crafts, science, sports, etc., with “honor beads” awarded for accomplishments in various categories. The organization was founded as an alternative to Boy Scouts.
Bricka-bracka, firecracker, sis-boom-bah! Bugs Bunny, Bugs Bunny, rah, rah, rah!
A line from the 1943 Warner Bros. animated short Super-Rabbit, directed by Chuck Jones.
Oh, no, not liturgical dance! No!
Liturgical dance is dance as a form of worship during a religious ceremony.
Fire walk with me.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is a 1992 theatrical film that served as a prequel for the surreal TV series; both the series and the film were the brainchild of director David Lynch.
[Sung.] Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets …
A line from the song “Whatever Lola Wants” from the musical Damn Yankees. Sample lyrics: “Whatever Lola wants/Lola gets/And little man, little Lola wants you/Make up your mind to have no regrets/Recline yourself, resign yourself, you're through.”
[Sung.] Oh, that Broadway rhythm …
A line from the song “Broadway Rhythm Ballet” from the musical Singin’ in the Rain. Sample lyrics: “Oh, that Broadway rhythm/When I hear that happy beat/I feel like dancin' down the street/In that Broadway rhythm writhing, beating rhythm …”
And now let’s hear it for the Kingsford dancers. Kingsford girls light quickly.
“Edges light quickly” is an old slogan for Kingsford charcoal.
That’s right, and now the spanking, spanking, spanking! –Spank me!
A line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
Look, you’re an embarrassment to NASA and yourself.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was established in 1958 at the height of the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Three years later, the first American was launched into orbit, and the rest is history.
Son of a gun—I found the Murphy bed.
A Murphy bed is a bed that folds up into the wall to create extra space when it’s not being used. It was invented around 1900 by William Murphy, founder of the Murphy Wall Bed Company.
Now, you know women can do that but men can’t.
Referring to an old experiment popular among schoolkids: Place a chair against a wall. Bend straight over the chair from the waist and rest your head against the wall. Without straightening up, lift the chair off the ground. Now try to stand up. Most women can do this; most men can’t because they have longer torsos and can’t get enough leverage.
[Sung.] She’s got legs …
A line from the ZZ Top song “Legs.” Sample lyrics: “She’s got legs, she knows how to use them/She never begs, she knows how to choose them/She’s holdin’ leg wonderin’ how to feel them/Would you get behind them if you could only find them?”
Here come the brides.
See note on Here Come the Brides, above.
Polonius is the garrulous counselor, father to Ophelia and Laertes, who winds up getting punctured behind an arras in the William Shakespeare play Hamlet.
We will return to Operation Petticoat.
Operation Petticoat is a 1959 movie starring Cary Grant as a World War II submarine commander who finds himself landed with a bunch of army nurses. In 1977 it was turned into a TV show starring John Astin in Grant's role.
Lawrence, would you please get back there?
A reference to Show 204, Catalina Caper. (Thanks to Joel Boutiere for this reference.)
“Trouble?” Right here in River City?
A reference to a line from the musical The Music Man. The actual line: “You got trouble, folks! Right here in River City. Trouble with a Capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool.”
We’re going over to the couch now to talk to the Ding-a-lings.
Toward the end of The Dean Martin Show (1965-1974), the bevy of beautiful women that hung on Martin were known as the Ding-a-lings.
Snipe. Your snipe. Uh, guys, I couldn’t find any snipe. Guys?
The snipe hunt is a type of practical joke in which a group of people take an unsuspecting victim out to the woods at night to hunt for snipe. The victim is handed a bag and told that the others will drive the snipe in his direction so that he can catch them in the bag. Then those who are in on the joke leave and wait for the victim to catch on.
You know, I’ve got a headache this big and it’s got Cy Roth written all over it.
From a series of TV commercials for Excedrin pain reliever, in which the sufferer would say, “I’ve got a headache this big, and it’s got Excedrin written all over it.”
[Sung.] I’m just a girl who can’t say no, and I’m in a terrible fix …
A line from the song “I Can’t Say No” from the musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “I’m just a girl who can’t say no/I’m in a terrible fix/I always say ‘Come on, let’s go!’/Just when I oughta say nix.”
And now, right here on our stage, we have the wonderful Patrice Munsel with the Camp Fire Girls dance.
An imitation of variety-show host Ed Sullivan. See note on Camp Fire Girls, above. Patrice Munsel was an operatic soprano who hosted her own variety series, The Patrice Munsel Show, from 1957-58. In the mid-1960s Munsel appeared in a commercial for the Camp Fire Girls and sang its theme song, "Sing Around the Camp Fire," which became widely popular.
[Sung.] Everybody was kung fu fighting …
A line from Carl Douglas’s hit song “Kung Fu Fighting.” Sample lyrics: “Everybody was kung fu fighting/Those cats were fast as lightning/In fact it was a little bit frightening/But they fought with expert timing.”
Does anybody have a copy of Final Exit with them? I’m gonna need it.
Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying is a 1991 book by Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society, which advocates for the right of terminally ill people to end their lives.
Sealy Posturepedic morning … whoa!
“It’s a Sealy Posturepedic morning! Yeah!” is a line from an old Sealy mattress commercial from the 1970s.
Twyla Tharp must die.
Twyla Tharp is a popular American dancer and choreographer who ran her own dance troupe from 1965-1988, when she disbanded the group and joined the American Ballet Theatre.
I am the god of hellfire! –Hi, god of hellfire.
See note on “Fire,” above.
[Sung.] Roller coaster of love …
See note on “Love Rollercoaster,” above.
Change in the menu—duck’s off.
“Duck’s off, sorry” is a line from the British TV comedy series Fawlty Towers.
Oh, no, not “Stranger in Paradise” again!
See note on “Stranger in Paradise,” above.
I’m sure you’ll all recognize this lovely melody: “A Stranger in Paradise.” But did you know its original title was the Polovetsian Dance Number 2 by Borodin?
See note on “Stranger in Paradise,” above. This is a paraphrased quote from a late 1960s/early 1970s-era commercial for 120 Music Masterpieces, an album of classical music. The ad starred actor John Williams (of Hitchcock's herd). (Thanks to Kurt Steidl for this reference.)
A reference to Show 104, Women of the Prehistoric Planet.
See note on Peenemunde, above.
Goodbye! Thanks for the Valium!
Valium is a tranquilizer that was widely prescribed during the 1970s. Its popularity waned after some patients began experiencing problems with addiction and others suffered significant side effects.
“Anderson.” You make windows.
Andersen is a manufacturer of doors and windows.
Oh, I get it. Hey, you don’t have to be Freud to figure that one out.
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) is generally considered the father of psychoanalysis. He was a firm believer in analyzing one’s dreams to gain insight into one’s unconscious, and he placed a heavy emphasis on phallic imagery.