504: Secret Agent Super Dragon
by Wyn Hilty
Hey, it looks kind of like a Mickey Spillane still-life.
Mickey Spillane (1918-2006) was an author of hard-boiled detective fiction featuring Mike Hammer, a hard-drinking, hard-fighting, quick-shooting, quintessentially American detective—Sam Spade without Dashiell Hammett’s literary pretensions.
One of these things is not like the others/One of these things is …
From the kids’ song “One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others).” Sample lyrics: “One of these things is not like the others/One of these things just doesn't belong/Can you tell which thing is not like the others/By the time I finish my song?”
Brought to you by Firestone. Where the rubber meets the road.
“Firestone—where the rubber meets the road” is an old advertising jingle for Firestone tires that last ran in 1988. In 2004 the company announced it was launching a revamped and updated version of its classic jingle in a new ad campaign.
[Buzzing sounds.] Help me!
An imitation of David Hedison in the title role of The Fly (1958).
Whoa! J. Edgar Hoo-hoo-hoover!
J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death. He was known for his loathing of “radicals” of any stripe and launched notorious investigations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. At the same time he was investigating civil rights activists and musicians, he allowed the Mafia to operate virtually with impunity. However, he also built the FBI into a professional and effective police force. Rumors of homosexuality dogged Hoover all his life, and in 1993 author Anthony Summers claimed he was a cross dresser, an image that quickly caught on in the popular imagination.
Heh-heh-heh. Secret Agent Mary Kay.
Mary Kay is a cosmetics company whose “consultants” sell beauty care products independently, much like Avon Ladies. The company racked up $2.5 billion in retail sales in 2000. Top salesladies can earn themselves a pink Cadillac or other car from the company.
Watch this—they’re gonna pan up and it’s gonna be John Cleese.
John Cleese is a founding member of the classic British comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The Pythons frequently dressed in drag in their skits.
Oh, no, it’s a Hercules film!
In the 1960s, for some reason, there was a spate of Hercules movies made in Italy, dubbed into English, and brought over to America by American International Pictures. Several different actors played the mythical Greek hero, the most famous being Steve Reeves (1926-2000). MST3K did several Hercules films, including Show 410, Hercules Against the Moonmen, and Show 412, Hercules and the Captive Women.
Hey, who pulled William Holden out of the pool?
William Holden (1918-1981) was an actor who appeared in such films as Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955) and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). The Canadian band Blue Rodeo sang about Holden in its 1987 song “Floating”: “I need love and it’s you/And I feel like William Holden floating in a pool”—an image based on a scene at the beginning of Sunset Boulevard (1950).
We now return to I, Claudius.
I, Claudius is a 1934 novel by Robert Graves, purporting to be the autobiography of the Roman emperor Tiberius Claudius. The book was turned into a hugely successful BBC miniseries in the 1970s starring Derek Jacobi in the title role.
Pepper, you’re going undercover!
The line “Pepper, you’re going undercover” appeared frequently on the TV show Police Woman, which starred Angie Dickinson as police detective Suzanne “Pepper” Anderson. The series ran from 1974-1978.
Oh, no, Madame Sousatzka was here!
Madame Sousatzka is a 1988 film starring Shirley MacLaine as an eccentric piano teacher.
Ladies and gentlemen: Joey Heatherton!
Joey Heatherton was a popular singer/actress/Vegas mainstay during the 1960s, whose persona as a purring sex kitten carried her on a crest of popularity through the decade. She was particularly well known for touring with Bob Hope on his USO shows. However, in the 1970s she fell out of vogue and began to have increasing drug and health problems. She was arrested for possession several times and has largely disappeared from the public consciousness.
[Sung.] Waa-waa-waa, waa-waa-waa-waa …
This is a famous tune used by strippers, aptly titled "The Stripper," and is performed by David Rose and his Orchestra.
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).
It’s 10:30—do you know where your hot chick is?
A reference to an old public service announcement that used to air on television, usually just before the evening news: “It’s 10 p.m.—do you know where your children are?” The goal, presumably, was to goad parents into keeping a closer eye on their kids.
Oh, I gotta remember to write that dream down.
Dream journals were a fad in the 1970s, although some counselors still use them as a therapeutic tool. The idea was to write down your dreams as soon as you woke up; in theory, this would make you more aware of your dreams and give you the ability to consciously control them.
Wait a minute—I’m Scott Baio!
Scott Baio is an actor who is probably best known for playing Chachi on Happy Days for eight years and continuing the part on the short-lived series Joanie Loves Chachi (1982). He also played the title character in the TV show Charles in Charge (1984-1990).
“But Coleman smells something burning.” Well, they make stoves, I mean …
Coleman is a company that manufactures the familiar lanterns used by campers everywhere. It was founded in 1900 and now churns out millions of lanterns each year, in addition to cookstoves and other outdoorsy equipment.
“He was found dead after four days at the bottom of an elevator shaft.” Wakka-chukka-wakka-chukka …
An imitation of the theme from Shaft, written by Isaac Hayes. Tom Servo does an extensive riff on “wakka-chukka” in Show 512, Mitchell.
Oh, that’s my Super Dragon!
Probably a reference to That’s My Mama, a sitcom about a barber in Washington, DC, who continually had to fend off his mother’s efforts to find him a wife. It ran for a year and a half, from September 1974 to December 1975.
[Sung.] Fred Winston, WLS Chicago …
Fred Winston was a longtime morning-show radio host in Chicago; he started on WLS in 1971 and later became the morning host on the oldies station WJMK. In 2013 he was abruptly let go by Cumulus Media.
If Fritz Hollings were Supermarionation.
Ernest "Fritz" Hollings was a Democratic U.S. senator from South Carolina from 1966 until he retired in 2005; before that he served as governor of South Carolina. Supermarionation is a puppetry technique invented by Gerry Anderson and showcased on such 1960s kiddie TV shows as Supercar, Thunderbirds, and Captain Scarlet.
“He’s dead.” Jim.
A reference to Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the doctor on the original Star Trek series, which aired from 1966-1969. Along with “I’m a doctor, not a [fill in the blank],” “He’s dead, Jim” is the catchphrase McCoy is best known for. He said it in only two episodes—“The Enemy Within” and “The Devil in the Dark,” although variants (such as “You’re dead, Jim”) appeared in three others. The “Jim” in question is Captain James T. Kirk.
Bert Convy, P.I.
Bert Convy (1933-1991) was an actor and singer who appeared in many TV series and movies, in addition to a flourishing stage career. “P.I.” is probably a reference to Magnum, P.I., a TV detective series that aired from 1980-1988.
“Who owns a bowling alley on Marlboro Street.” Oh, where the flavor is.
Marlboro is a brand of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris. Its iconic advertising symbol, the Marlboro Man, used a number of slogans having to do with flavor, including “Delivers the goods on flavor” (1950s) and “Come to where the flavor is” (1970s).
An imitation of Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau, the bumbling protagonist of the Pink Panther movies. In order to keep his reflexes sharp, Clouseau had ordered his servant Cato (played by Burt Kwouk) to attack him on a regular basis.
Oh, Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.
An often-repeated line from the television series The Odd Couple, starring Tony Randall as Felix Unger and Jack Klugman as Oscar Madison. The show ran from 1970-1975.
Oh, this is before they had Post-It notes.
Post-It notes are small pieces of notepaper with a slightly sticky substance along one edge, allowing them to stick to paper or other surfaces but still be easily removed. They were introduced by 3M in 1980, although the adhesive that makes them possible was invented back in 1968.
It’s time for the Banana Splits show!
The Banana Splits were animal rock musicians on a Saturday morning kiddie show in the late 1960s. They lived in Hocus Pocus Park, where their cuckoo clock always read 6:55.
I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!
Beginning in the 1960s, General Mills ran a series of commercials for its Cocoa Puffs cereal featuring Sonny the Cuckoo Bird, an animated bird in a striped shirt who squawked, “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs! Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!”
Oh, wait a minute, man—this is like Pee-wee’s Playhouse!
Pee-wee’s Playhouse was a children’s television series that ran from 1986-1990. It starred comedian Paul Reubens in his child-adult persona of Pee-wee Herman. The show was wildly popular and critically acclaimed, but it came to a premature end following Reubens’ arrest in 1991 for indecent exposure in an adult theater.
Congratulations on your purchase of a Black Forest cuckoo clock …
The Black Forest region is an area of Germany where the cuckoo clock originated sometime in the early 18th century. Black Forest cuckoo clocks are considered the Rolls-Royce of cuckoo clocks and are still produced in that region of Germany.
Ross Perot—the early years.
Ross Perot: businessman, philanthropist, multibillionaire, POW advocate, twice-unsuccessful presidential candidate, founder of the Reform Party, and paranoiac. Until 1992 Perot was largely known as a successful Texas businessman, having founded data-processing giant Electronic Data Systems. That year he ran as an independent candidate for president against incumbent George H.W. Bush and Democratic candidate Bill Clinton. The campaign was marked by bizarre incidents—at one point Perot dropped out of the race because he claimed his rivals planned to embarrass his daughter by pasting her head on photos of someone else’s naked body—and voters’ initial enthusiasm quickly waned. He won 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 election, but in 1996 he received a scant 8 percent.
“Ross.” It is Ross!
See previous note on Ross Perot.
I want a Snickers, now!
Snickers is a candy bar introduced in 1930 by M&M/Mars. It consists of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate. As of 2001, it was the best-selling candy bar in the United States.
But I’ve got a Charlie Callas audition to go-ho-ho to.
Charlie Callas (1927-2011) was a character actor and comedian who appeared in The Snoop Sisters and High Anxiety, among many others.
You’re working for the Wrigley company, aren’t you!
Wrigley’s spearmint-flavored chewing gum was introduced into the marketplace in 1892 by William Wrigley Jr. (1861-1932). Today the company is the largest producer of chewing gum in the world.
“What do you know about Christine Bruder?” She chews Juicy Fruit, okay? What do you want from me?
Juicy Fruit is another brand of gum made by the Wrigley company (see previous note). It is actually an older product than the company’s flagship brand, having been introduced several months before Wrigley’s Spearmint gum. Juicy Fruit is the most popular brand of chewing gum among kids in the United States.
It’s funny joke garlic gum!
Garlic-flavored chewing gum is a novelty gum meant to inflict pain and humiliation on its receipient when offered a piece by the practical jokester. A similar product is garlic candy.
Tonight: Who wants gum? He did. He did.
This is a take on the old advertising slogan for Trident chewing gum: “Who wants Trident? I do! I do!” The phrasing is reminiscent of the announcer for the old Quinn Martin TV shows.
The thin blue lines.
The Thin Blue Line is a 1988 documentary that argued a man convicted of the murder of a Dallas police officer was railroaded by a corrupt justice system. The phrase “the thin blue line” refers to the police, who like to regard themselves as the line between society and anarchy.
Oh, I get it—he’s an undercover agent for the Apartment Guide.
The Apartment Guide is a free publication produced by Primedia to advertise local apartments available for rental; the periodical can be found on racks in grocery stores and other such retail establishments. The company was founded in 1999.
Dust. Need to get Hazel in here to clean.
Probably a reference to the TV sitcom Hazel, which aired from 1961-1966. It starred Shirley Booth (1898-1992) as Hazel Burke, a maid for a successful corporate lawyer and control freak who was continually upstaged by his housekeeper.
Diamonds on my windshield, tears from heaven. Pulling into town on the interstate …
A line from the song “Diamonds on My Windshield” by gravelly-voiced singer Tom Waits.
Only to find … Gideon’s Bible.
A line from the Beatles son "Rocky Raccoon." Gideons International is a Christian organization that places Bibles in hotel rooms, hospitals, prisons, and schools. It was founded in 1899 by three businessmen and began placing Bibles in 1908. (Thanks to Chris Kee for the Beatles reference.)
Andre Gregory? But why?
Andre Gregory is an actor who is best known for his turn in the title role of the quintessential art flick My Dinner with Andre (1981), in which two guys talk in a restaurant. That’s the whole movie.
I know Ron Carter’s around here somewhere.
Ron Carter is a jazz bassist and cellist known for his classy and elegant playing with everyone from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis, to name just a couple.
Lieutenant Nyota Uhura is the communications officer on the original Star Trek series, which aired from 1966-1969. The role was played by Nichelle Nichols.
You’ve been eating French fries with Morrie Moskovitch, haven’t you?
A reference to the Philip Roth novel Portnoy's Complaint, in which the adolescent title character spends so much time holed up in the bathroom masturbating that his mother thinks he's sneaking food and screwing up his digestive system. She begins interrogating him with questions like "You go to Harold's Hot Dog and Chazerai Palace after school and you eat French fries with Melvin Weiner. Don't you?" (Thanks to Alice Phillips Walden for this reference.)
It’s Walter Winchell.
Walter Winchell (1897-1972) was an American journalist and broadcaster whose chatty gossip column was read avidly across the nation. He also appeared on a weekly radio news program from the 1930s through the 1950s. In his later years he became an arch-conservative, supporting Senator Joe McCarthy’s Communist witch hunt in the 1950s. He also served as the narrator for the TV drama The Untouchables from 1959-1963. His trademark was a rumpled fedora.
“It’s me—Super Dragon.” Super Dragon who?
Probably a reference to knock-knock jokes. Sample: “Knock knock. –Who’s there? –Orange. –Orange who? –Orange you glad I didn’t say banana.” Heh-heh-heh.
“I’ve made my mind up.” I’m gonna keep my baby.
A reference to a line from “Papa Don’t Preach,” on Madonna’s 1986 True Blue album. Hard as it is to believe now, the song engendered some controversy on the grounds that it endorsed teen pregnancy. It was her fourth number one hit. Actual lyrics: “Papa don't preach, I'm in trouble deep/Papa don't preach, I've been losing sleep/But I made up my mind, I'm keeping my baby …”
“It’s tasteless, odorless, and leaves no trace in the human body.” Velveeta?
Velveeta is a processed cheese product manufactured by Kraft Foods.
“They all seem to point to one city.” Circle Pines. “Amsterdam.” Oh.
According to writer Mary Jo Pehl, “Circle Pines [Minnesota] is Everytown, USA. ... When I was growing up in Circle Pines, it was a small town and had Lee and Iris’s Bar and Grill, ... the Down Under On/Off Sale, ... two rival gas stations, no stoplights, and the weekly newspaper called The Circulating Pines. ... The sign still reads—as it did all my twenty-some years there—POPULATION: 4,731.”
Andy Devine (1905-1977) was a character actor who appeared in dozens of Westerns and also had a starring role on the 1964 TV series Flipper. He was known for his gravelly voice and (later in his career) his tremendous girth.
Same pink, different day.
Probably a reference to the classic T-shirt slogan “Same shit, different day.”
Do not worship false eyelashes.
Depending on the translation, this is a paraphrase of the Second Commandment as found in the Bible: “Do not worship false idols.”
[Sung.] Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen …
A line from the Danny Kaye song “Wonderful Copenhagen.” Sample lyrics: “Wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen/Friendly old girl of a town/’Neath her tavern light/On this merry night/Let us clink and drink one down …”
Frusen Glädjé was a brand of ice cream that attempted to cash in on the “gourmet” ice cream boom of the 1980s, led by its chief competitor, Haagen Dazs. The latter survived and thrived in the marketplace; sadly, Frusen Glädjé is no more.
The Prisoner is a bizarre British television series that starred Patrick McGoohan as an ex-secret agent who is kept prisoner and interrogated by a bunch of strange captors. The show only aired for one year, from 1967-1968, but it has become a cult classic.
Look, they have kind of a weird miniature golf course on the second floor up there.
Miniature golf is exactly what it sounds like: a miniature version of the game of golf. It started in the late 19th century as a lawn game and gradually evolved into the form we know today, with small windmills, water hazards, underground tubes, and all the other hoopla that has made the game a perennial favorite with children.
It’s called the Family Circus. Billy drew the strip.
A reference to the comic strip “Family Circus,” created by Bil Keane. Keane periodically publishes cartoons that look as if they were drawn by a small child, claiming that they were drawn by “Billy,” the seven-year-old son in the strip.
Boy, I sure would like to tilt at that, huh?
The phrase “tilting at windmills” comes from the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, in which the title character, who believes himself to be a knight, jousts with giants, which are actually windmills.
Oh, shut up, M. Emmet Walsh!
M. Emmet Walsh is a heavyset character actor who has appeared in such films as Blade Runner (1982) and My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997).
Mennonites are a Protestant sect found mainly in North America. They were originally a separatist sect, but they have since become more involved in mainstream society. They generally refuse to take oaths or serve in the military and are noted for their commitment to social causes.
“Lamas.” Fernando or Lorenzo?
Fernando Lamas (1915-1982) was an Argentinean-born actor who appeared in such films as The Diamond Queen (1954) and The Violent Ones (1967). He was the father of fellow actor Lorenzo Lamas, who is best known for starring in the television drama series Renegade (1992-1997).
He’s kind of a white trash Q, isn’t he?
In the long-running series of James Bond movies, Q is the master gadgeteer who supplies Bond with all of his pen grenades, Aston Martin ejector seats, and so on. He has been portrayed by several different actors, with the best known being Welsh actor Desmond Llewelyn (1914-1999), who played the role from the second film through the nineteenth; the part was then taken over by John Cleese and later by Ben Whishaw.
Larrabee? Is that you?
A reference to the spy spoof TV series Get Smart, which aired from 1965-1970. Larrabee was one of the agents on the show; the part was played by Robert Karvelas. (Thanks to reader L.L. for identifying this reference.)
Andy Capp’s gained weight.
Andy Capp is the eponymous star of the long-running comic strip, which first appeared in Britain in 1957 and was then syndicated worldwide. He is, as the Toonopedia says, “lazy, belligerent, unskilled at any socially acceptable occupation, and usually drunk.” He always wears a hat pulled down low over his eyes.
Hey, it’s Rula Lenska’s place.
Rula Lenska is a Polish actress who is best known for appearing in a series of commercials for Albert VO5 shampoo.
I hope this isn’t like a John Waters film and they lick all the furniture.
John Waters is a bizarre Baltimore filmmaker who has directed such off-the-wall masterpieces as Pink Flamingos (1972) and Hairspray (1988). There is a scene in Pink Flamingos where two characters break into another character’s house and lick the furniture to bring down a curse on the owner’s head.
Dub Taylor on vibes.
Dub Taylor (1907-1994) was a character actor known for playing grizzled old coots in Westerns, such as his recurring role as Houston on TV’s Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983).
He’s wearing the Phil Harris collection.
Phil Harris (1904-1995) played the hard-partying bandleader on The Jack Benny Show on radio for many years and later had his own long-running radio show along with his wife, actress Alice Faye. He later enjoyed fame in animation, voicing Baloo the Bear in Disney’s The Jungle Book (1967) and Little John in Robin Hood (1973).
Here—you keep the picture of Vic Tayback.
Vic Tayback (1930-1990) was an actor who was best known for playing diner owner Melvin “Mel” Sharples on the TV sitcom Alice (1976-1985). But he also appeared in more than 50 TV series and movies as well as making guest appearances on nearly 100 TV shows.
[Sung.] I enjoy being a girl …
A line from the song “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from the musical Flower Drum Song. Sample lyrics: “When I have a brand new hairdo/With my eyelashes all in curl/I float as the clouds on air do/I enjoy being a girl!”
Ladies and gentlemen, Mother Teresa!
Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was a Roman Catholic nun and the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, an order dedicated to helping the poor, particularly in India. She began working with the poor in Calcutta in 1928. In 1979 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; in 2003, six years after her death, she was beatified (the first step toward awarding her sainthood).
Allen and Rossi, ladies and gentlemen, Allen and Rossi.
Allen and Rossi were a 1960s comedy team in the vein of Abbott and Costello or Martin and Lewis. Marty Allen played the slapstick role to Steve Rossi’s straight man. They were frequent guests on The Ed Sullivan Show. In the 1980s they enjoyed something of a resurgence in Las Vegas.
Cooper, like the hockey equipment.
Cooper is a company that manufactures sports equipment such as helmets, gloves, and other protective gear for sports such as hockey, baseball, and softball.
They talk like a Speed Racer cartoon.
Speed Racer was a Japanese animated show that first aired in the United States in 1967. Speed himself was the teenage son of a car designer who, in addition to winning races, solved crimes and foiled supervillains.
You're on Larry King Live. Europe, you're on the air!
An imitation of talk show host Larry King, whose interview show Larry King Live aired on CNN from 1985-2010. On some shows, King took calls from viewers. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Yeah, I know—I look like Spike Jones.
Spike Jones (1911-1965) was a comedian and musician who starred as the host of several TV shows, including several incarnations of The Spike Jones Show in the 1950s and 1960s.
“Just do what I tell you.” Go to the window.
In the 1965 Beatles movie Help, Ringo is being pursued by an Eastern thuggee-type cult, which wants a ring he wears. In one scene, the Fab Four are in Scotland Yard when a call comes in from a phone booth, and the Yard inspector, who is impersonating Ringo on the phone, is hypnotically instructed, "Go to the window. Go to the window." When he reaches the opening, two arrows fly in, narrowly missing his head. (Thanks to Andy MacKenzie for this reference.)
“Yes, you must!” Increase your bust.
A reference to an old chant that went along with pectoral-increasing exercises that were supposed to increase bust size. The complete phrase: “We must, we must, we must increase our bust! The bigger the better, the tighter the sweater, the boys depend on us!”
Brideshead Revisited. To the Manor Born. Upstairs, Downstairs. The Magician, with Bill Bixby.
The first three are references to British television shows. Brideshead Revisited (1981) was a miniseries about two young, vaguely homoerotic men who meet at Oxford and become friends. It was based on the Evelyn Waugh novel of the same name. To the Manor Born was a 1979 sitcom about a widow who is forced to leave her ancestral home, which is bought by a supermarket magnate. Upstairs, Downstairs was a highly successful drama that ran from 1971-1975; it followed the lives of a well-to-do family and their servants. The Magician was a short-lived TV series that ran from 1973-1974 about a magician who helps people with their personal problems. Bill Bixby (1934-1993) appeared in the pilot but not the series.
Mario Cuomo (1932-2015) was the governor of New York from 1983 until 1995, serving three terms.
Emo, avec lute.
Emo Philips is a stand-up comedian from the wacked-out Andy Kaufman school of comedy. The All Music Guide describes his routine as “a bit like listening to an extraterrestrial doing shtick, and just about as funny in spots.”
“I think you’ll find this interesting.” But stupid.
An imitation of comedian Arte Johnson on the TV sketch comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973), who would appear dressed as a German soldier to inform the audience that the preceding sketch was “Very interesting, but stupid!”
“It appeals to everyone’s vanity.” And Apollonia, too.
Apollonia Kotero is a singer and actress who got her start in Minneapolis-based rocker Prince’s smash hit 1984 film Purple Rain. Vanity (a.k.a. Denise Matthews) is another singer/actress who was a protégé of Prince’s.
Let us know when the Pavarotti comes in.
Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2007) was a widely respected and popular operatic tenor who has been performing regularly at the Metropolitan Opera since 1971. He has also toured frequently in concerts and made numerous television appearances.
“There’s a famous hotel in Volendam.” [Sung.] Called the Shady Rest …
A line from the theme song to the TV sitcom Petticoat Junction, which aired from 1963-1970. The hotel in Hooterville, where the show was set, was called the Shady Rest Hotel, run by the Bradley family: Uncle Joe, Kate, and Kate’s three numptious daughters. Sample lyrics: “There's a little hotel called the Shady Rest at the junction/Petticoat Junction/It is run by Kate, come and be her guest at the junction/Petticoat Junction …”
“Christine was pretty well known at Lamas’s place, I suppose.” Fernando or Lorenzo?!
See note on Fernando and Lorenzo Lamas, above.
Oh, boy, that kid’s got personality plus.
Personality Plus is a Christian self-help book written by Florence Littauer in 1983 that purports to help you analyze and improve your personality.
Picture Picture’s showin’ us Holland.
Picture Picture was a regular segment on the TV children’s show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in which children would get to view documentaries on how everyday things such as pencils, pretzels, and so on are made.
Pannekoeken Huis was a chain of pancake houses in Minnesota; it filed for bankruptcy in 1996, but in 2003 several Pannekoekens opened in and around Minneapolis.
Here—give this to Audrey Hepburn.
In the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, Hepburn plays a young blind woman terrorized by violent criminals who want the drugs that have accidentally come into her possession. The drugs are hidden inside a child's doll.
I know somebody who borrowed a pantsuit from Hope Lange.
Hope Lange (1931-2003) was an actress probably best known for her role as Mrs. Carolyn Muir in the 1960s sitcom The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1968-1970).
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper.
Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (1992-1997) was a TV sitcom that starred Mark Curry as teacher Mark Cooper.
You know, in that light she looks just like Geddy Lee.
Geddy Lee is the singer and the bass player for the progressive rock band Rush.
Should a gentleman offer a lady a Tiparillo?
This was an old advertising slogan for Tiparillo brand cigarettes.
Something intoxicating happens when Brylcreem and White Shoulders meet.
Brylcreem is a brand of hair pomade, and White Shoulders is a women’s perfume manufactured by Evian.
There he goes—and a classic Jackie Chan disarm.
Jackie Chan is a Hong Kong martial artist who has achieved worldwide fame in a series of action movies featuring death-defying stunts (Rumble in the Bronx and Supercop, among others).
Oh, no, now we’ll never know if Razzles are candy or gum!
Razzles was a popular brand of candy in the 1950s and 1960s. It was marketed with the slogan “First it’s candy … then it’s gum!” It was a candy that metamorphosed into gum as you chewed on it. Razzles are still sold today; you can find them online at stores that offer “nostalgic” candy.
Going down, Mr. Interloper?
A reference to the Aerosmith song “Love in an Elevator,” which begins with a sultry woman’s voice asking, “Going down, Mr. Tyler?”
Sonny Corleone, watch out!
Sonny Corleone is a character in The Godfather, the classic 1972 film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. In the film, Sonny, played by James Caan, is ambushed and shot to death at a tollbooth.
[Sung.] Get Smart theme.
This is the theme to the TV spy parody Get Smart, which starred Don Adams as bumbling secret agent Maxwell Smart. It ran from 1965-1970.
I think you need to take a rest in Ward E.
A reference to Show 305, Stranded in Space. (Thanks to reader Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
Oh, that’s my zucchini wrapped in foil.
In a scene in the classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap (1984), bassist Derek Smalls (played by Harry Shearer) sets off an airport metal detector due to the zucchini wrapped in foil he has stuffed into the crotch of his pants to give him a, shall we say, more impressive silhouette.
Ah, good morning, Mr. Solo.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E., a tongue-in-cheek TV spy series that aired from 1964-1968, starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, the top agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement, who battled the evil forces of the Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity, or THRUSH.
Oh, it’s Jack Lord again.
Jack Lord (1920-1998) was the star of Hawaii Five-O, a television show about the exploits of a group of police detectives in Hawaii. The series ran from 1968-1980.
It’s Herb from Burger King!
In 1985 the Burger King chain of fast food restaurants launched an ad campaign centered on Herb, a nerdish fellow who was the only person who had never consumed one of their burgers. The actor who played Herb, John Merrick, would show up in person at random restaurants and give prizes to anyone who recognized him. The $40 million campaign is considered one of the decade’s biggest failures.
Leonard Cohen at home.
Leonard Cohen is a poet and songwriter known for pop hits such as “Bird on a Wire” and “Suzanne.”
Wow, it looks like they’re making out in Peter Brady’s room.
On the TV sitcom The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969-1974, Peter Brady (played by Christopher Knight) is the middle of the three Brady sons.
She looks like a white member of the Supremes.
The Supremes were a musical trio in the 1960s that recorded such hits as “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Baby Love.” The three members were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and lead singer Diana Ross.
Looking for Mr. Goodbar?
Looking for Mr. Goodbar is a 1977 movie starring Diane Keaton as a teacher who begins cruising bars at night, looking for guys to pick up. It was based on the novel of the same name by Judith Rossner.
Fashions from the Lollipop Guild collection.
A reference to the song “Ding-Dong, the Witch Is Dead” from the 1939 film musical The Wizard of Oz. Sample lyrics: “We represent the Lollipop Guild/The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild/And in the name of the Lollipop Guild/We wish to welcome you to Munchkin Land.”
A reference to the Thomas Dolby song “She Blinded Me with Science.” Sample lyrics: “When I'm dancing close to her/Blinding me with science—science!/I can smell the chemicals/Science!”
They're both doing Shelley Berman routines.
Shelley Berman was a popular standup comedian during the 1960s. (Thanks to Christopher Brame for this reference.)
Yes, I’m a Howard Johnson.
Howard Johnson is a chain of restaurants and hotels instantly recognizable from highways across the nation thanks to their distinctive orange roofs.
A Screen Gems presentation!
Screen Gems is a production division of Columbia Pictures that has had many different incarnations since its founding in 1934. Probably it is best known for its television productions between 1948 and the 1970s, which include The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Monkees.
Hooray! I’m Superclown!
This may be a reference to the Superclown Children’s Art Gallery in St. Paul, a nonprofit gallery designed to help children express themselves through art.
James T. West was the lead character on the TV Western The Wild, Wild West, which ran from 1965-1969. The part was played by Robert Conrad.
It looks like the end of Romancing the Stone. It’s not funny—I’m just pointing it out.
Romancing the Stone is a 1984 film starring Kathleen Turner as a romance novelist who gets involved in a wild adventure of her own with soldier of fortune Michael Douglas.
It's like a Crosby family outing.
Gary Crosby (1933-1995) was a singer and actor, the son of legendary crooner Bing Crosby. In 1983 he published a tell-all autobiography called Going My Own Way, in which he described the physical and emotional abuse his father inflicted on him. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
He took the Nestea Plunge.
“Come take the Nestea Plunge” is an old advertising slogan (still used today) for Nestea instant iced tea, which is manufactured by the Nestle company. The company used to run a series of TV commercials showing fully dressed people falling into swimming pools to convey the utter refreshingness of Nestea.
Yes, it’s Lech Walesa and Billy Pilgrim.
Lech Walesa is a Polish labor leader who from 1980-1990 formed the country’s first labor union under the communist government that then ran Poland. After the Soviet satellite states collapsed at the beginning of the 1990s, Walesa became president of the newly democratic Poland for five years (1990-1995). Billy Pilgrim is the central character in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s classic novel Slaughterhouse Five (1969).
“Screw the lid down.” If you want to lock in deadness.
Many food storage products use the phrase “lock in freshness,” but it is probably most closely associated with the Tupperware line of products.
His chin looks like a Parker House roll.
Parker House rolls are a type of dinner roll invented at the Parker House hotel in Boston.
I’m not dead yet. Hey, I’m feeling better!
A reference to a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which a man tries to toss his elderly relative on the plague cart, the old man all the while insisting that he isn’t dead yet.
You know, some day we should all go in and buy a Makita.
Makita is a Japanese corporation that manufactures power tools such as power drills and power screwdrivers, woodworking tools, and the like.
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.
Hey, he’s gonna show himself a Linda Hunt movie.
Linda Hunt is a diminutive actress who won an Oscar for her portrayal of male photographer Billy Kwan in The Year of Living Dangerously (1983). She has appeared in more than 30 films and TV shows.
Good morning, Mr. Phelps … morning, Mr. Phelps … morning, Mr. Phelps … morning, Mr. Phel—
Jim Phelps was the character played by Peter Graves on the TV series Mission: Impossible, which aired from 1966-1973. “Good morning, Mr. Phelps” was the greeting used on the tape-recorded messages that gave the team its instructions for each mission.
It’s a great day at Tires Plus.
Tires Plus is a chain of car repair centers with nearly 600 locations nationwide.
Oh, I get it—he’s going to lower his metabolism like James Coburn did in In Like Flint.
In Like Flint (1967) is a delightfully spoofy spy flick starring James Coburn (1928-2002) as super secret agent Derek Flint. In a couple of scenes in the film, Flint lowers his metabolism via some mystical yoga-ish technique.
[Sung.] Dum-dum-da-dum … Come on, guys, let’s do the song. [Sung.] Dum-dum-da-dum dum-da-dum-da-dum-da-dum … Come on!
This is the well-known “Funeral March.” It was written by Polish composer Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) as part of his Sonata Op. 35.
But there was no monster.
A reference to Show 421, Monster a Go-Go.
[Sung.] Old Dutch, the snappy chip/Crispy, crunchy …
Old Dutch is a brand of potato chips manufactured by Old Dutch Foods Inc. This is a paraphrase of the jingle used in commercials for the chip. Actual lyrics: "Old Dutch potato chips/Old Dutch the happy chip/Crispy, crunchy, light and snappy, Old Dutch potato chips!" (Thanks to Minnesota native Gregg Powers for locating the lyrics for me.)
[Sniff.] We commit the body to the deep. Dump him!
The line “We commit this body to the deep” is from the Episcopal service for burial at sea.
“Bon voyage.” Charlie Brown.
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (And Don’t Come Back!) is a 1980 animated film following the exploits of the gang from the “Peanuts” comic strip as they travel to Europe as exchange students.
[Yawn.] Oh, I’m tired. Think I’ll sleep with the fishes.
A reference to a famous line from The Godfather (1972): “Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes.”
Let’s go have a Grolsch.
Grolsch is a brand of beer from Holland.
[Sung.] Somewhere … beyond the sea …
A line from the song “Beyond the Sea,” which has been recorded by innumerable artists. Sample lyrics: “Somewhere beyond the sea/Somewhere waitin’ for me/My lover stands on golden sands/And watches the ships that go sailin’ …”
Ken Buddha and his inflatable knees.
A reference to a line from an episode of the British sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus: “Ladies and gentlemen, we give you Ken Buddha and his inflatable knees.”
[Sung.] Here’s George Jetson …
A paraphrase of the theme song to the animated television show The Jetsons, which aired from 1962-1963. Actual lyrics: “Meet George Jetson/His boy Elroy/Daughter Judy/Jane his wife.”
I see the white belly!
Most likely a reference to the classic novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, in which a sea captain is obsessed and finally destroyed by his quest to kill a giant white whale.
Oh, this must be in the Brookstone Hard to Find Tools catalog.
The Brookstone Hard to Find Tools catalog offers such innovative gadgetry as a faucet sock, a greeting card holder, a tangle-proof flagpole, and a personal home golf organizer for your putters and whatnot.
Hey, they’re doing all this in front of a Starving Artist painting.
Starving Artists sales are commonly events in which art students, amateurs, and other hopeful artistic types sell their (usually badly) painted works for a couple of hundred bucks or less.
Mary had … a little lamb … whose fleece …
The first human voice ever recorded and played back was that of Thomas Edison in 1877 reciting the nursery rhyme "Mary had a little lamb." (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Oh, very frigging funny, Tom Wicker.
Tom Wicker (1926-2011) was a journalist and author who wrote several books on U.S. presidents and was the longtime author of the New York Times’s “In the Nation” column, which he wrote from 1966 until his retirement in 1991.
Hey, it’s Donna Summer!
Donna Summer (1948-2012) was a singer who made it big in the 1970s with songs like “Love to Love You Baby,” “MacArthur Park,” and “She Works Hard for the Money.”
She’s modeling the Florence Henderson collection, I see.
Florence Henderson is an actress who is best known for playing quintessential mom Carol Brady on the TV sitcom The Brady Bunch (1969-1974).
Oh, and friends are visiting from Europe.
A commercial from the ‘70s starring Polish actress Rula Lenska used the line “Friends from Europe are here,” later parodied by Jambi on the Pee-wee Herman HBO special.
Those collagen lips!
Collagen lip injections are a cosmetic procedure done to give patients fuller, poutier lips. The surgeon injects bovine collagen straight into the lip, along with a mild anesthetic. The effects wear off within a few months, and the patient will need to be reinjected.
Welcome to the Fred Mertz Mystery Cafe!
Although there are many Mystery Cafes in the world, I’m willing to hazard a guess that the writers are talking about the comedy dinner theater in St. Paul. 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).
[Sung.] Around the world in eighty days …
A paraphrase of the theme song to the 1956 film version of Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, starring David Niven. Sample lyrics: “Around the world I've searched for you/I traveled on but hope was gone/To keep a rendezvous.” (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
One word, Ben: plastics.
A reference to the 1967 film The Graduate, about a young man who has an affair with an older woman and then falls for her daughter. The full exchange referred to in the comment:
Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Ben Braddock: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Ben Braddock: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.
That wild man Rainier wants to put riders on again.
Prince Rainier III (1923-2005) was the head of state of the tiny nation of Monaco. He ruled there for more than 50 years, beginning in 1949.
Number 73: a date with Prince Philip. Prince Philip.
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the husband of Queen Elizabeth II of England. He is the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece.
Sorry, sir—TeleCheck says no way.
TeleCheck is a check authorization system used by many retailers to cut down on bad checks and fraud. The company was founded in 1964; today it has more than 300,000 clients.
I’ve got some lupins!
A reference to the Dennis Moore highwayman sketch in the British sketch comedy show Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Dennis Moore, an exceptionally dim highwayman, keeps holding up passengers in coaches and demanding they give up their lupins (a kind of flower).
They’re all dressed as Mexican wrestlers! –El Santo.
Masked Man El Santo (or Samson, as he is known in the English versions of his films) was a Mexican wrestler in the 1960s who starred in a series of movies in which he bravely wrestled various incarnations of evil into submission. He can be seen in Show 624, Samson vs. the Vampire Women. He died of a heart attack in 1984 and was buried in his mask.
Oh, the guy’s got Snoopy checks.
Snoopy is the beagle from the comic strip “Peanuts.”
Let’s see what else … a harmonica? I just rolled Toots Thielemans!
Jean “Toots” Thielemans is a Belgian harmonica player whose music has been heard in such films as Hard Rain (1998) and Jean de Florette (1986).
You know, there's an episode of Skinny and Fatty that's just like this.
Skinny and Fatty were the protagonists of a series of Hong Kong flicks in the 1950s. (Thanks to Ronald Byrd for this reference.)
Oh, come in. We were just about to float the table.
In the late 19th century, there arose the spiritualist movement, which purported to be able to communicate with the dead through mediums. These mediums would hold seances, at which various spooky things would happen—loud raps would be heard, sometimes roses or musical instruments would hover in the air, and the table would frequently shake, rotate, or float.
Oh, boy, this has all the markings of a Clay Shaw party.
Clay Shaw was a New Orleans businessman who was accused of being part of the right-wing CIA conspiracy dreamed up by New Orleans DA Jim Garrison to account for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In 1967 Garrison charged Shaw with conspiring to assassinate Kennedy; two years later he was acquitted by a jury. Shaw died in 1974.
Ladies and gentlemen: Sandler and Young!
Tony Sandler and Ralph Young were a popular Las Vegas lounge act from the 1960s to the '80s, singing smooth songs in a variety of languages and schmoozing with the audience.
The gentlemen now retire to the back room to play Racko.
Racko is a card game produced by Hasbro, in which the goal is to get ten cards in sequential order.
“Luna. Pluto.” Goofy. Scrooge McDuck.
Goofy and Scrooge McDuck are both Disney animated characters. Goofy, Mickey Mouse’s pal, first appeared in 1932 under the name “Dippy Dawg,” but quickly became so popular that he was promoted to supporting character and his name was changed to Goofy. Scrooge McDuck is Donald Duck’s wealthy uncle; he originally appeared in comic books in 1947 but later graduated to animated cartoons.
Secret Agent Super Dragon in a deadly game of Hungry Hungry Hippo.
Hungry Hungry Hippo is a children’s game made by Milton Bradley in which players compete to see whose plastic hippo can snork down the most marbles. Children love it, parents hate it.
“The little town of …” Bethlehem.
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” is a traditional Christmas carol. Sample lyrics: “O little town of Bethlehem/How still we see thee lie/Above thy deep and dreamless sleep/The silent stars go by.”
And now your General Cinema feature presentation.
General Cinema is a chain of theaters in the United States.
See note on Petticoat Junction, above.
Cigars, cigarettes, Tiparillos?
Another advertising slogan for Tiparillo cigarettes (see note above).
It’s the Edie Adams gang!
Edie Adams (1927-2008) was an actress who was a regular on the Ernie Kovacs Show (1952-1956) She also appeared in numerous films and television series.
Oh, they’ve been given a drink that turns them into Shriners. –How horrible.
The Shriners are a fraternal organization known for their circuses, good works, and silly-looking fezzes.
It's a good night at 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).
Ah, Louis the Fourteenth—good one. That’s two or three mil!
Louis XIV (1638-1715), known as the Sun King, was king of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Louis XIV furniture is highly distinctive in appearance, featuring inlays, heavy gilding, curlicues and other elaborate motifs, and in general a lot of fooferal.
“Gentlemen, the victory will indeed be ours.” Ours the victory will be.
Reminiscent of a Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch called “The Agatha Christie Sketch,” in Season 1, Episode 11, “The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Goes to the Bathroom.” Inspector Tiger (John Cleese) enters a drawing room and tries to tell the occupants about a murder, but he keeps mixing up his syntax and words and having to start over. The line “Somebody. In this room. Must the murderer be” particularly matches it.
That’s odd—they’re playing Twister, but there ain’t no Twister board.
Twister is a board game produced by Hasbro, which consists of a plastic sheet with circles of various colors on it. The object is to place your hands and feet on the different colors as the game spinner indicates until all players are hopelessly entangled and fall into a gigantic heap. It was first released in 1966.
Doris Day, no!
Doris Day is a singer and actress who became the epitome of wholesome American womanhood in a series of films during the 1950s and 1960s. She got her own TV show, The Doris Day Show, in 1968; it ran for five years.
Serena was the mischievous witch cousin of Samantha Stephens on the TV series Bewitched (1964-1972). Both parts were played by Elizabeth Montgomery (1933-1995).
I’ll fix that, Samantha.
See previous note on Bewitched.
Hello. I am Louis Jourdan. I turn like you, I walk, I have a gun, but still I am Louis Jourdan.
Louis Jourdan (1921-2015) was a French actor who appeared in more than 50 films, including Gigi (1958) and The Count of Monte Cristo (1961).
“Let’s begin with Lamas’s number.” The number or Lorenzo?
See note on Lorenzo Lamas, above.
Why, there's Amsterdam! –Hey, Morey!
Morey Amsterdam (1908-1996) was a character actor and comedian best know for his role as Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show. (Thanks to Peter Topp for this reference.)
“It would be a pity to have to put you in our tub.” For you see, the Mr. Bubble may give you a urinary infection.
Mr. Bubble is a brand of bubble bath marketed chiefly to children. Frequent bubble baths can in fact irritate the urethra and may contribute to urinary tract infections, although they do not cause them directly, so women and girls are advised not to take too many of them.
Hey, George Wendt!
George Wendt is a portly actor best known for playing accountant Norm Peterson on the TV series Cheers, which aired from 1982-1993. (Thanks to Ray Frost for helping to identify this reference.)
This is like The Quiet Man—only it takes place in a mansion in Holland with a couple of spies.
The Quiet Man (1952) is a film directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne as Sean Thornton, an Irish-American boxer who returns to Ireland to reclaim his family’s homestead and falls in love with his chief rival’s sister, played by Maureen O’Hara.
Well, Gary, now this is the last time you're going to come home late.
See note on Gary Crosby, above. (Thanks to Erik Topp for this reference.)
Bocephus? What's he doing here?
A reference to Hank Williams Jr., whose father nicknamed him Bocephus after a ventriloquist's dummy in the Grand Ole Opry. (Thanks to Jim Caldwell for this reference.)
Dennis James (1917-1997) was the host of numerous television game shows, including Name That Tuneand The Price Is Right.
Oh, all of a sudden they’re at the Alamo.
The Alamo is an old mission in San Antonio, Texas, that was the site of a famous battle during the Texas war for independence. The Texans lost and were slaughtered, and the phrase “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for the war. The Alamo is now located in downtown San Antonio and is a major tourist site.
“I couldn’t help myself.” I ate the last Frusen Gladje.
See note on Frusen Gladje, above.
The haunting Herb Alpert death theme, here on The Music of the White.
Herb Alpert was the longtime leader of the Tijuana Brass, a brass band that became astoundingly successful in the 1960s. Possibly their most famous tune is “The Spanish Flea.”
Super Dragon worked the deep fryers at Arby’s—he knows what he’s doing.
Arby’s is a chain of fast-food restaurants known for its signature roast-beef sandwiches. The company was founded in 1964 and today has more than 3,000 locations worldwide.
Although I was in Oliver! on senior sketch night. I had this little …
Oliver! is a 1960 stage musical based on the 19th-century novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.
Hey, it’s Frank the bodyguard’s apartment.
May be a reference to the 1992 film The Bodyguard, which starred Kevin Costner as Frank Farmer, a bodyguard who falls in love with his client, singer Whitney Houston.
What, are they in Filene’s Basement all of a sudden?
Filene’s Basement is a chain of discount clothing stores that has been selling higher-end clothes since 1908.
You hear that, Lizabeth? I’m comin’ to join you, honey! Senator Hollings, get off the line.
On 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!” See also note on Fritz Hollings, above.
See note on In Like Flint, above.