705: Escape 2000
by Chris Baumgartner
Hey, why is John Madden signing Samuel Goldwyn’s signature?
NFL legend John Madden was a player who turned to coaching after an injury. After a string of college coaching wins, he landed the job of head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 1969. He won a Super Bowl, and eventually became a prominent color commentator for NFL’s Monday Night Football TV show. Cinema titan Samuel Goldwyn (a.k.a. Schmuel Gelbfisz, 1879-1974) was a rags-to-riches Polish immigrant with a rough temper and a flair for sales. He founded both the Paramount and the MGM movie studios.
Samuel Goldwyn, father of the Constitution.
See previous note on Samuel Goldwyn. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the United States, written by a convention of delegates in 1787 Philadelphia.
Wow, the new draconian HUD policies.
“HUD” stands for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD offers low down payment loans to homebuyers who plan to buy and renovate houses. HUD also auctions off homes that were bought with a U.S. government HUD-insured mortgage, and then defaulted on. HUD homes tend to be located in lower- and middle-income neighborhoods. Their rates are often sub-prime or heavily discounted as an incentive.
Vote Johnson. Vote Johnson.
A nostalgic reference to when candidates such as President Lyndon B. Johnson, running for re-election in 1964, used to “stump” for votes by using vans with PA broadcasting speakers to “get the word out” before an election.
And we have a bingo. Hold your cards please.
Bingo is a game played with a small card on which are printed numbers in a grid arrangement; an announcer calls off numbers, and if a player has that number on his card, he covers it with a small marker. When he has covered a whole row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, he calls out “Bingo!” The game has traditionally been the domain of little old ladies, who routinely play several cards at a time.
Brunch today, Jell-O, tater tots, pigs in a blanket.
Probably a reference to the daily PA announcements at public schools about the hot lunch program and its daily menu. Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin dessert made by General Foods Corporation.
We gratefully acknowledge the Reynolds Wrap corporation for donating the costumes.
Reynolds Wrap is the leading brand of aluminum foil; it was first manufactured in 1947 by a relative of R.J. Reynolds, the tobacco magnate.
When Habitat For Humanity cracks down.
Habitat For Humanity is a nonprofit Christian volunteer organization dedicated to building affordable housing for needy families. Former president Jimmy Carter has been involved with the group for many years.
Wow, the Orkin men have snapped.
The Orkin man is the longtime advertising mascot of the Orkin pest control company.
If you leave the Bronx, we’ll give you Fudgsicles.
Fudgsicle is a popular brand of frozen, chocolate-flavored ice milk served on a stick. It is one of the Popsicle brands.
Ziggy Stardust was a stage persona created by musician David Bowie during his glam rock years. He was the protagonist in Bowie’s 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Well, Valerie Bertinelli hasn’t left the Bronx.
Valerie Bertinelli was a teen star on the 1970s sitcom One Day at a Time. She married rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen and had a child named Wolfgang. She later married Tom Vitale, a wealthy fund manager, and became an advocate for weight loss after struggling with her own weight for many years.
[Sung.] Working on a sex farm.
Lyrics from the song “Sex Farm” by mock metal group Spinal Tap: “Working on a sex farm/Trying to raise some hard love/Getting out my pitchfork/Poking your hay.”
I’d better get over to the Zombie Nightmare set.
In Show 604, Zombie Nightmare, the lead character was played by the longhaired bodybuilder Jon Mikl Thor.
Wow, it would be horrible to die to the strains of David Sanborn.
David Sanborn is a jazz saxophonist who has played with most of the big-name musicians during the second half of the 20th century, in addition to having an extremely successful solo career.
This was once a glorious McDonald’s Playland.
Early McDonald’s Playland restaurants had an area full of playground equipment themed to look like their cartoon menu item characters: Ronald McDonald, Mayor McCheese, and the rest of the gang. These have evolved into PlayPlace restaurants featuring interesting modern playgrounds with elaborate climbing structures.
Eddie Money, no!
Eddie Money is a singer and musician. He had a number of hit rock songs in the late 1970s and ‘80s, such as “Take Me Home Tonight” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.”
You just took down Flying Officer Irv Peterson.
Flying Officer Jim Cavanaugh was a Chicago police officer who supplied helicopter traffic reports for WGN Radio and TV during the 1970s and 1980s, though you never saw him. WGN would run some stock footage of the highways taken from a helicopter while Cavanaugh made his report.
Isn’t this where they filmed Dollman?
Dollman is a 1991 B-movie about an alien cop who crash-lands on Earth, only to find that he is doll-size compared to the Earthmen.
Yes, the Bronx: gateway to the Great Lakes.
A number of places boast of being the gateway to the Great Lakes: St. Clair, Michigan, home to the Soo Locks between Lake Superior and the lower lakes; the St. Lawrence Seaway, which runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes; and Toledo, Ohio, for, well, being next to Lake Erie, I guess.
Why are the Mercury Seven here?
The Mercury Seven were a group of pioneering astronauts in the early U.S. space program. All of them eventually got shot into space, with one—Alan Shepard—even making it to the Moon.
We are the men from Servicemaster.
Servicemaster is a company that specializes in maintenance services such as industrial cleaning, disaster restoration, and pest control.
They’re rehearsing a David Mamet play.
David Mamet is a playwright known for his stylized, staccato dialogue in such plays as Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow.
I shouldn’t have seen Showgirls before I came up here.
The 1995 sexploitation flick Showgirls was about an up-and-coming Vegas erotic dancer. It had a good amount of soft-core nudity to cover up an otherwise plotless mess.
Is he married to Jo Anne Worley?
Jo Anne Worley was a regular on the television skit comedy series Laugh-In, which aired from 1968-1973. She has also appeared in several Disney films (including The Shaggy D.A.) and has done some voiceover work for cartoons.
I’m Tyne Daly.
Actress Tyne Daly played short, outspoken, brainy policewomen in features such as The Enforcer andTelefon and later starred in the TV series Cagney & Lacey as Detective Mary Beth Lacey.
They’re not getting the Tom of Finland posters.
Artist Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen; 1920-1991) was a notable fetish artist who specialized in drawing buff men in homoerotic situations. His work was highly influential during the 1970s and 1980s; many gay men copied the look of his artwork in the way they dressed, and the Village People looked like they had jumped right off the page.
I’ll show ‘em this. I got it at Sportmart. Hey guys, look at this.
Sportmart was a chain of sporting goods stores based out of Niles, Illinois. They were bought up in 1998 and are now part of the Sports Authority mega-chain.
Uh, sir, at least take a Watchtower.
The Watchtower is the official magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, an apocalyptic Christian sect known for proselytizing door to door.
[Sung.] Kawasaki, let the good times roll.
Taken from the commercial jingle for Kawasaki motorcycles. Kawasaki has been manufacturing motorcycles since the 1950s.
It’s Evel Knievel’s handicap access.
Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel (1938-2007) was a famous American stunt riding daredevil. He jumped his motorcycle over buses, a shark tank and the Caesar’s Palace fountain in live televised specials. His crashes were devastating and traumatic; over his career he broke 433 bones.
[Sung.] Purple rain, purple rain.
Lyrics from the title track to the 1994 movie Purple Rain, starring the musician Prince. The film featured his music throughout; the accompanying album sold more than 20 million copies. Prince’s main mode of transportation throughout the movie was his highly groovy purple motorcycle.
Gotta check my Roquefort cheese, man.
Roquefort is a type of blue cheese that is made exclusively in France. The cheese develops green, rather than blue, veins, and it must be cured in natural caves. Great in salads or on a steak.
Okay, let’s see. Peg, I hear you calling. No, no. Debbie, I hear you calling. No, no.
Paraphrase of lyrics from the love ballad “Beth” by rock band Kiss. The song was their biggest hit (reaching number 7 on the Billboard chart) because it was tame enough for top 40 radio. It features the dodgy vocal talent of drummer Peter Criss. “Beth, I hear you calling, but I can’t come home right now/Me and the boys are playing, and we just can’t find the sound.”
Welcome to the Honeycomb Hideout.
The Honeycomb Hideout was a kids’ clubhouse in TV commercials for Honeycomb breakfast cereal. The kids in the club would explain that Honeycomb is big, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s not small, no, no, no.
Hi, Walker, Texas Ranger.
Chuck Norris is an actor and martial arts expert who has appeared in many films, including Way of the Dragon with Bruce Lee, and in the long-running TV series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001).
[Sung.] Mystery Date.
This is the TV ad jingle for the board game Mystery Date, by Milton Bradley. Assemble an outfit, go on a date. Avoid the nerd and the construction worker. I work for the company that invented the game, oddly enough.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Frankie Goes to Hollywood is a British new wave band that made it big for a brief time in the mid-1980s with songs like “Relax.”
It’s the cast of Fame.
Fame was a 1980 movie about a group of aspiring performers at the fictional New York City High School for the Performing Arts. It was made into a TV series that aired from 1982-1987.
[Sung.] In the Navy.
Lyrics to the Village People song “In the Navy” (1979).
Lyrics to the song “One” from the 1975 Broadway musical A Chorus Line. “One, singular sensation, every little step she takes …”
[Sung.] I really need this job.
A line from the song “I Hope I Get It” from A Chorus Line (see previous note).
Prince needs a decaf, pronto.
Pop star Prince hails from Minnesota. He had a string of pop hits driven by lavish music videos and movies, including Purple Rain (see above note).
Hey, what’s our FedEx number? There’s a guy out front.
FedEx (formerly Federal Express) is a package delivery service that specializes in overnight deliveries.
Hah. The one minute manager.
The best-selling book The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, made the rounds in the mid-1980s. It taught simple techniques for managers, such as goals, reprimands, and compliments, each of which takes only sixty seconds to complete.
It’s the lyrics to that Whitesnake song I was telling you about.
Whitesnake was a British hard-rock band popular in the 1980s, known for such hits as “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again.”
His name is Toblerone?
Toblerone is a triangular chocolate bar made by Swiss candy manufacturer Tobler. Tobler is now owned by Illinois-based Kraft foods.
Renegade (1992-1997) was a crime-action TV show featuring the hunky, long-haired Lorenzo Lamas. Lamas played a cop framed for a crime who takes it on the lam to clear his name with the help of his American Indian sidekick Bobby Sixkiller (Branscombe Richmond).
Oh man, if only there had been enterprise zone legislation none of this would be a problem.
This refers to laws that provide tax credits to businesses that locate in certain depressed areas. The concept is to encourage revitalization. Senator Robert Kennedy first attempted to pass such legislation in the 1960s, but the zones were not actually created until the early 1980s, during President Ronald Reagan’s administration.
Have you seen a knife like this? But wait, there’s more.
Ginsu Knives is a brand of cutlery marketed in endless television commercials during the 1970s and ‘80s. Nearly every commercial featured one of the knives cutting through an aluminum can and then immediately slicing into a delicate tomato. They are made in America.
Now he’ll flash back to the Shaolin monastery.
Kung Fu was a television series that ran from 1972 to 1975. It starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who roams the American West. The show had frequent flashbacks to his youth in an Asian monastery being trained by a blind monk named Master Po (played by Keye Luke).
Adam Sandler! Get him!
Adam Sandler remains a popular comic actor despite bad reviews, poor acting, and being questionably unfunny. He was a cast member on the TV show Saturday Night Live from 1990-1995.
George Hamilton didn’t know when to stop tanning.
Actor and Dancing with the Stars contestant George Hamilton’s famously ultra-tanned complexion has resembled chestnut-brown leather for the past four decades.
[Sung.] Wash and go, Pert Plus.
Pert Plus is a brand of shampoo plus conditioner that is manufactured by Procter & Gamble. It was introduced in 1987 and comes in a number of different varieties: Light, Medium, Deep, Dandruff Control, etc., etc. "Wash and go with Pert" is an old ad slogan for the brand.
He took out Horshack.
Actor Ron Palillo (1949-2012) played class clown Arnold Horshack on TV’s Welcome Back, Kotter from 1975-1979.
Probably a reference to the actress’s Academy Award-winning role as the psychotic Annie Wilkes in the 1990 film Misery—she winds up looking pretty battered and bruised by the end of that film.
Lorenzo Lamas, in the Gino Vannelli story.
Lorenzo Lamas is an actor best known for starring in the television drama series Renegade (see above note). Gino Vannelli is a Canadian soft jazz/adult contemporary singer-songwriter with curly, poofy hair.
Yet her Orlon sweater survived.
Orlon is a man-made clothing fiber, a trademark for acrylic. It was invented by the DuPont Corporation in 1941.
Will it still be a hell of a town, sir?
A reference to the 1944 show tune “New York, New York” from the musical On the Town. “New York, New York, it’s a helluva town/The Bronx is up but the Battery’s down/The people ride in a hole in the ground.” The music was written by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green.
Every building will have Selectric typewriters.
Selectric typewriters were an industry standard before computers. They were a line of electric typewriters sold by IBM that featured a golf-ball-like letter punch that would move and stamp out the letters you type at high speed. The Selectric was sold between 1961 and 1984 and at one point commanded 75 percent of the market.
But I’m with Parade!
Parade is a color newsprint magazine included with many Sunday newspapers. It has profiles of celebrities, human-interest stories, and games.
A fascist Italian? Come on.
During World War II (1939-1945), Italy was governed by the Fascist Party. Their leader was Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), who allied with Nazi Germany.
“Abandon all buildings.” Ye who enter here.
In the classic 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy, author Dante Alighieri wrote that the sign on the gates of Hell read “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
The Bronx has hit an iceberg and is sinking.
The Titanic was a luxury passenger ship that hit an iceberg and sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, killing about 1,500 people on board.
The Very Large Corporation of America.
The opening sketch in the 1983 movie Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life featured a swashbuckling naval battle between the Crimson Permanent Assurance Company and the Very Big Corporation of America.
President Lincoln, you had a question.
President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) was the sixteenth U.S. president, serving from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.
How do we invest in a Fannie Mae?
The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA, or Fannie Mae) is a corporation set up by the U.S. government to encourage home ownership by buying mortgages from banks, thus freeing the banks to lend more money. They issued stock, and people can invest in it. The company issued spectacularly bad loans en masse, and went about as bankrupt as you can get during the real estate crash of 2008. It was bailed out by taxpayers and taken over by the government.
The remaining pizza will go on sale.
During the era of drive-in movie theaters, the outdoor venues would have a snack bar and make PA announcements about the offerings on sale between the features.
Geez, he has Ricky Ricardo Tourette syndrome.
Ricky Ricardo was the character married to Lucy on I Love Lucy (1951-1957). He was played by her real-life husband Desi Arnaz. Tourette syndrome is a brain disorder that causes those afflicted by it to make sudden vocal sounds or movements.
Realistic makes one that says “explode, not explode.”
Realistic was the house brand of electronics at RadioShack—very functional products, often at a low price, but with less style and frills than brand-name products. The brand name was largely moribund by the early 1990s, being replaced by Optimus, and was officially discontinued in 2000 when RadioShack cut a deal with RCA to sell their products instead.
Probably a reference to the invention exchange in Show 401, Space Travelers.
Dah, I gotta call Schneider.
Dwayne Schneider was the ever-present fix-it man on the sitcom One Day at a Time. He was played by Pat Harrington.
Ah, the ladder of Damocles.
Based on the Sword of Damocles, which is used to describe dramatic action which has a sense of foreboding or impending doom. It comes from a Roman tale by Cicero, in which he tells the story of a man who gives up a chance at the throne of Sicily because of the huge sword that dangles above the throne, held by a single horse hair; whoever sits on the throne does so knowing that the hair could at any moment snap and the sword plummet down to his certain death.
Lyric and title of the hit song “Barracuda” by the band Heart.
Must get to Whitesnake tapes.
See note on Whitesnake, above.
It tossed him into the streets of Rio Bravo.
Rio Bravo was a Western film from 1959 that starred the diverse combo of John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson.
And I’ve got Jazzercise.
Jazzercise Corporation hosts fee-based exercise classes where large groups have an instructor lead sessions set to music. They started in 1969 in Illinois and are now nationwide.
“In 1986, despite all our technical know-how, we did not succeed in getting rid of the rats.” That’s the plot of Fievel Goes West, anyway.
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991) is an animated movie about a mouse family (led by Fievel Mousekewitz) that moves west to escape trouble with cats.
Isn’t he Michele Lee?
Michele Lee was kind of a cutie-pie actress in the 1970s and ‘80s. She starred in the original The Love Bug movie and on the evening soap opera Knots Landing (1979-1993).
[Sung.] Once had love, and it was a gas, soon found out ...
Lyrics from the song “Heart of Glass” by Blondie. It was a late disco-era hit in 1979.
Ha! The cast of any cable access program.
Cable access programs are produced by local people and aired on a dedicated local cable channel. They are noncommercial and provided by the host cable provider as a service to the community that allows them a license to operate.
Ah, Mr. Homeless People, once again we see there is nothing you can possess that I cannot take away.
Paraphrased dialogue from the 1981 action movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, spoken by the villain Belloq to Indy.
Is this your indigent?
The early ads for American Express personalized credit cards focused on the fear of theft or loss of a card, stressing how the victim was screwed unless it was an American Express with their name on it. “Is this your card? American Express: don’t leave home without it.”
Do you know if they lived in Manhattan, they could have gotten rid of the Jeffersons?
The TV sitcom The Jeffersons aired from 1975-1985 as a spinoff of All in the Family. It focused on the life of an African-American family whose hard work allowed them to move to a Manhattan high-rise apartment.
Let’s take the Chunnel.
The Chunnel is the nickname of the long railway tunnel (official name Channel Tunnel) under the English Channel that connects France to Great Britain. Channel + Tunnel = Chunnel.
How about a little fire, spaceman?
Paraphrased dialogue from The Wizard of Oz movie (1939): “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?” said the Wicked Witch of the West.
Down here’s my bong room.
A bong is a water pipe used to smoke drugs and tobacco. The water cools the hot gas and removes cinders, but the drugs are not water soluble and pass through. The used water is a reeking, toxic mess.
Cathy Ladman, Private Eye.
Cathy Ladman is a Jewish-American standup comic and actress who has appeared in the TV shows Roseanne, Caroline in the City, and Everybody Loves Raymond, among others.
Ahn-haaalla ... oh.
Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, occurs five times a day. Led by the muezzin, all worshippers turn to face Mecca and recite the correct prayers.
Look to this slum, graduate.
"Look to this day, graduates" is an old cliché that frequently appears in college graduation ceremonies.
Snipes, Bertinelli, Escape 2000.
Wesley Snipes is a popular movie actor (Blade, New Jack City) who was found guilty of tax evasion; after lengthy legal squabbles, he served three years in prison from 2010-2013. See note on Valerie Bertinelli, above.
She’s got Bobbi Flekman voice.
Bobbi Flekman was a character in the 1984 mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. She was played by the nasal-voiced Fran Drescher (The Nanny).
“I’d say we’re under the public toilet.” Oh, that’s my Chanel.
Chanel No. 5 is a French perfume brand, named after the fashion designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971).
[Sung.] Ooh, I’m driving my life away ... So you like it?
Eddie Rabbitt (1941-1998) was a popular country/crossover singer in the 1970s and ‘80s, with such hits as “Drivin’ My Life Away” and “I Love a Rainy Night” (both from 1980). In the 1990s he had health problems that kept him from recording much; he died of lung cancer in 1998.
Mandy Patinkin gets a tour of the sewer.
Mandy Patinkin is an actor known for his stage work in musicals such as Evita, in which he played “Che,” presumably the South American revolutionary Che Guevara. He has also done work in film, including his winning turn as Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride.
Howard Stern in West Side Story.
Howard Stern is a long-haired, sunglasses-wearing radio broadcaster who pioneered the craze for “shock jocks,” or radio personalities willing to do anything to shock and amuse their listeners (and annoy their critics). West Side Story is a Broadway musical by composer Leonard Bernstein about rival New York street gangs, an adaptation of the William Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet.
The Good Humor organization in a show of force.
Good Humor is a brand of ice cream treats first marketed in 1920. The “Good Humor Man” became an American institution, as kids across America lined up during the summers to buy ice cream from the men who drove the trucks with the tinkling bells.
They’ve got Rhoda Morgenstern.
Rhoda (1974-1978) was a TV sitcom starring Valerie Harper as the title character, Rhoda Morgenstern. Rhoda was a spinoff of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where Harper played the same part from 1970 to 1974. Rhoda was Mary’s best friend and lived in her apartment building.
Steve Dallas, terrorist.
Steve Dallas was a character in the newspaper comic strip “Bloom County,” which ran from 1980-1989. He was created by Berke Breathed as kind of a suave, too-cool lawyer/wannabe ladies’ man.
Ever since the salmonella outbreak, the Schwan’s truck needs high security.
Schwan’s is a gourmet frozen food delivery service; you can see their trucks on the road at various places throughout the nation.
Steven Tyler, action hero.
Steven Tyler is the lead singer for the rock band Aerosmith. He is known for his large mouth and flamboyant style of dressing, with a particular taste for kicky scarves.
I regret nothing!
In the Simpsons episode "Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie," a drawbridge opens and a man waiting in line to see the film plummets to his death, screaming, "I regret nothing!"
Sonia Braga looks on.
Sonia Braga is an actress from Brazil. She works mostly in television, but she has appeared in a number of films, most notably Kiss of the Spider Woman in 1985, in which she played the title role.
Fred Biletnikoff is a former NFL wide receiver. He played with the Oakland Raiders for a long career that included two Super Bowls and later coached for them as well. He is in the Hall of Fame.
It’s the S.W.A.T. bread delivery.
There was a short-lived Aaron Spelling TV series called S.W.A.T. from 1975-1976. It was based on the LAPD Special Weapons And Tactics team. On the show, officers called to action would hop in a black bread truck and change clothes into their riot gear.
She looks like Shelley Duvall after a drinking binge.
Shelley Duvall is a slender actress whose best-known role is as Wendy Torrance in the 1980 horror film The Shining; she also played Olive Oyl in the 1980 movie Popeye.
Please, ma’am, if you go to New Mexico, you’ll have a nice view of cacti. You could live in a really nice artist colony? You might meet Joni Mitchell?
The town of Taos, New Mexico, is a well-known haven for artists, with many of them living and working there and art galleries abounding throughout the town. Joni Mitchell is one of the folk scene divas of the 1960s, known for her cover version of Bob Dylan’s “Big Yellow Taxi.”
She looks like a guy dressing up like Diana Ross.
Diana Ross was the lead singer for the 1960s Motown group The Supremes. She went on to a successful solo singing and acting career, appearing in The Wiz and Mahogany.
Rockwell wants his coat back.
Rockwell (a.k.a. Kennedy Gordy) is an R&B singer and the son of legendary Motown producer Berry Gordy. He had a hit song and video in the 1980s with “Somebody’s Watching Me.”
“You know you’re really something?” [Sung.] You got me so I can’t sleep at night.
“You Really Got Me” was a hit song for The Kinks back in 1964.
I’m Cherokee Jack.
Cherokee Jack was a character in Show 619, Red Zone Cuba.
[Sung.] You turn me right round baby, right round.
Lyrics from the song “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record),” by the British New Wave group Dead or Alive, which was a hit in 1985. Lead singer Pete Burns was known for his flamboyant appearance, which included androgynous clothing, makeup, high heels, and a piratical eye patch.
Hot dog. Get your Hebrew National franks here.
Hebrew National is a brand of Kosher beef hot dogs. Their ad slogan is “We answer to a higher standard.” They are part of ConAgra.
Nosferatu is a classic silent horror movie based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. It starred Max Schreck as the creepy Count Orloff. It has been remade a number of times, but the original 1922 makeup styling is iconic.
See previous note.
My coffin. It’s right over here.
See previous note.
I don’t know, loden, I guess.
Probably a reference to catalog clothing company Land’s End. They sell casual clothing in ultra-conservative colors like khaki, loden, and plaid that are meant to look outdoorsy. They are now owned by Sears.
Yes, with the Gore-Tex, right.
W.L. Gore and Associates are makers of Gore-Tex. Gore-Tex is a breathable, waterproof fabric for use in clothing and medical applications.
Lupita is a character in Show 521, Santa Claus.
[Sung.] She’s so popular.
Misheard lyrics from Peter Gabriel’s 1980 hit song “Games Without Frontiers.” The song’s title comes from a European game show, Jeux Sans Frontières, which sounds a lot like “she’s so popular.” Actual lyrics: “If looks could kill, they probably will/In games without frontiers, war without tears/Jeux Sans Frontières.”
[Sung.] How can you have any meat, if you don’t eat your pudding!
A paraphrased line from the Pink Floyd song “Another Brick in the Wall,” Actual lyrics: “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding/How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?”
[Sung.] No dark sarcasm, in the classroom.
See previous note.
Thing? Put the luger down.
Thing was the intelligent, disembodied hand on the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966. It was played by both Jack Voglin (the assistant director) and Ted Cassidy (who also played Lurch the butler).
Huh huh huh, that’s a great confession.
A reference to the Catholic sacrament of confession. Penitents disclose their sins to a priest in a confessional booth for privacy. The priest imposes the penance based on the severity of the sins.
Dai der Mr. Person-in-the-thing gah.
This is an imitation of comedian Jerry Lewis.
Oh, watch out! Her other jaw’s gonna shoot out.
Alien is a 1979 sci-fi/horror film that starred Sigourney Weaver as a spaceship crew member forced to fight off a rampaging alien aboard her ship. The alien monster had multiple extending jaws with metal-like teeth.
Can I get you a glass of blood?
See note on Nosferatu, above.
She looks like if Gilda Radner and Satan had had a baby.
Gilda Radner (1946-1989) was a comedian who was part of the original cast of Saturday Night Live. She suffered from anorexia and bulimia. She died at the age of 42 from ovarian cancer.
I must have blood.
See note on Nosferatu, above.
Meanwhile, in Schaumburg, Illinois.
Schaumburg is a distant suburb of Chicago. It has a large number of glass high-rise office buildings and one of the area’s largest indoor shopping malls. It boasts the headquarters of Motorola.
It’s Friday afternoon, the employees of Citicorp turn the speakers out of the windows.
Citicorp is the one of the largest banking groups in the United States. There are several well-known skyscrapers named after the group; I’m going to take a stab and say they’re referring to the Citygroup Center in Chicago, formerly the Citicorp Center, although there is also a Citigroup Center in New York that ranks among the ten tallest skyscrapers in that city.
Wilford Brimley is 007.
Wilford Brimley is a portly, elderly actor who had a popular TV commercial for Quaker Oats. The famous code name “007” belongs to Ian Fleming’s fictional spy, James Bond.
Ah, she’s looking for a place to hang upside down for the night.
See note on Nosferatu, above.
You know, he looks like Persis Khambatta.
Persis Khambatta (1948-1998) was a beautiful model and actress from India. She is known for her role in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), in which she played the bald Lieutenant Ilia, an alien from a world where sex is like saying “Hello.” She died from a heart attack at age 49. She appears with hair in Show 501, Warrior of the Lost World.
And now another look at Love, American Style.
On the TV series Love, American Style, which aired from 1969-1974, there would be anywhere up to four short vignettes about love featuring various celebrity guest stars.
Yeah, I’ll take care of this. You go ahead and suck face with Vampira.
Maila Nurmi (1922-2008) was an actress who, in 1954, became the nation’s first “horror host” on Los Angeles television station KABC as the pale-skinned Vampira. In a macabre setting, Nurmi would introduce schlocky B- to Z-grade horror films whilst spinning a web of punny graveyard humor. Her show was canceled in 1955, but she retained rights to the character and appeared in her friend Ed Wood’s film Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959).
Weird Courtship of Eddie’s Father episode here.
The Courtship of Eddie’s Father was a sitcom that aired from 1969-1972. It starred Bill Bixby as a widower struggling to raise his young son alone.
Jim Henson’s Chairman Mao Babies.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies was a children’s cartoon based on young versions of the classic Muppets. It ran from 1984-1991. Chairman Mao refers to the Chinese communist dictator Mao Tse-Tung (1893-1976), whose official title was First Chairman of the Communist Party of China.
I’ll catch up on my Marxist dogma while they’re up there.
Communist political theory was laid out in a famous 1848 book by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels called The Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels’ political philosophy became known as Marxism.
Coming in low out of the rising sun, scares the hell out of the executives.
A paraphrase of a line from the 1979 film Apocalypse Now, from Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall). Kilgore is describing the chilling effect of an air cavalry military assault.
Hey, Skipper, look at the terrorists over there.
Possibly a reference to the Skipper and his first mate Gilligan on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island, which aired from 1964-1967.
Anyone seen Lieutenant Kojak? Tall, bald, ugly. Anyone?
Telly Savalas played the suave, bald, Greek-American, NYPD Lieutenant Theo Kojak on the popular TV series Kojak (1973-1978). Kojak smoked thin brown cigarettes during the first season, but switched to Tootsie Pops in what would become a signature character quirk.
We’re looking for Petrocelli over here.
Petrocelli (1974-1976) was a TV series about an Italian-American lawyer who leaves the big city for the country. The title character was played by Barry Newman.
We’re waiting for Banacek to show; I think they all carpooled.
George Peppard played Thomas Banacek, a Polish-American insurance investigator on the TV show Banacek (1972-1974).
[Sung.] Theme from The Great Escape.
The prolific film composer Elmer Bernstein (no relation to Leonard) wrote the theme for the 1963 action movie The Great Escape.
Uh, guys? I sweated all over the Gorp. Sorry.
Gorp is an acronym for Granola, Oats, Raisins, and Peanuts. It was a do-it-yourself trail mix recipe for hikers that popped up in the 1960s.
Let’s see, Toblerone recommended the Guggenheim.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum is in Manhattan in New York City. It is a contemporary art museum housed in an unusually shaped building designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
And Weekly Reader News is on the scene.
Possibly a reference to the Weekly Reader, an educational newspaper for elementary school students that is distributed weekly in classrooms across the country; it has been published for more than a century and has seven million subscribers.
The Promise Keepers are there.
Promise Keepers is a Christian organization founded in 1990 by Bill McCartney. The group held rallies across the United States throughout the 1990s, at its peak attracting more than a million attendees a year. It focuses on men’s role and responsibilities as the head of the family and of the family’s spiritual life.
Starsky and Carole King.
Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979) was a TV series about two tough plainclothes cops who fought crime on the streets. Detective David Starsky was played by Paul Michael Glaser. Carole King is a singer-songwriter with long curly hair who was most popular in the 1970s with songs such as “It’s Too Late.”
A rubbery Jimmy Smits.
The actor Jimmy Smits can be seen on repeats of L.A. Law and NYPD Blue, and in a number of marginal film roles such as Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and, of course, Switch. (Jimmy Smits!)
Murder at some historic cathedral somewhere.
Murder in the Cathedral is a play in verse written in 1935 by T.S. Eliot. The play tells the story of the death of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 by agents of King Henry II.
Nosferatu was murdered today ...
See note on Nosferatu, above.
Colonel Mustard looks nervous.
Colonel Mustard is a character in the detective mystery board game Clue, manufactured by Hasbro. It was first created in 1949 by Anthony Pratt in England, where it is still known as Cluedo.
There’s something sort of Richard Dreyfuss-inian about this guy.
Richard Dreyfuss is an actor known for many films, including the 1975 blockbuster Jaws. I prefer to remember him in the 1969 travesty Hello Down There.
He’s being kidnapped by Kiss.
Kiss was a long-haired hard rock band that was big in the 1970s. They thrived on hype and promotion, and painted their faces to resemble demons.
Battleship Potemkin’s losing a lot of crew.
The Potemkin was a battleship in the Russian Imperial Navy. In 1905 the crew rebelled against their officers and took over the ship, sailing it to Romania. Most of the mutineers settled there; those who returned to Russia were put on trial. Some were executed while others went to prison; a few were exonerated. In 1925 Russian director Sergei Eisenstein made a famous silent movie about the uprising titled Battleship Potemkin. It was banned in the U.K. for 27 years for fear of starting class riots.
Sega Corporation is a Japanese-based video game maker. Their Genesis console took on the Nintendo NES in the early 1990s. TV commercials for the system ended with someone screaming “Sega!”
Ah, they’re looking for Frog One. [Whispers.] French Connection.
A reference to the 1971 action-thriller The French Connection, in which New York police detective Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) relentlessly pursues a French heroin importer he dubs “Frog 1.”
And now Pinch in the silent spot.
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.
Gotta get at the canned peaches.
In the 1975 sci-fi cult flick A Boy and His Dog, which was set in post-World War III desolation, people used canned food as currency. Canned peaches were considered especially valuable. The film was based on a novella by Harlan Ellison.
And Squadron Nine arrives at the Carnegie Deli.
New York City’s most famous delicatessen is the Carnegie Deli. It is near Broadway in midtown. They are known for their generous portions of corned beef and for their surly waiters.
It looks like Prince of Persia.
Prince of Persia is a videogame. The original version was for the Apple II back in 1989. The franchise lives on with sequels on various platforms and was even made into a feature film starring Jake Gyllenhaal in 2010.
Well, it’s nicer than the Soldier Field bathrooms.
Soldier Field is home to the Chicago Bears football team. Before it was remodeled in 2003, the men’s bathrooms were indescribably gross and featured a horrible communal urinal fixture known as “the trough.”
Hey, the Los Angeles River.
The Los Angeles River runs from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach. Once free-flowing, it is now enclosed in concrete and serves as a flood-control channel.
It sounds like the Banacek suite for orchestra and guitar.
See note on Banacek, above.
“John-John” was the nickname of lady-killer and magazine publisher John F. Kennedy Jr., son of President John F. Kennedy, who died in a plane crash in 1999. John Rambo is the Vietnam veteran title character in the series of Rambo films; he is played by Sylvester Stallone.
Boil-in-bag rice, as popularized by the brand Success, is pre-cooked rice that takes less time to prepare, but suffers from texture and color issues.
That’s a beautiful haiku.
Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry with a very strict rhythmic structure: three lines, with the first line consisting of five syllables, the second of seven, and the third of five. It first evolved into its current form during the 17th century.
Rimsky-Korsakov’s delightful “Spike Descending,” written originally for the ballet.
A series of TV ads for mail-order classical music records ran in the 1970s. The announcer would dramatically describe the selections in a lofty tone. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) was a famous Russian classical composer. He wrote both operas and orchestral works; his “The Flight of the Bumblebee” remains widely popular and was used as the theme song for The Green Hornet TV show.
Team building through Outward Bound.
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 1941.
[Sung.] Baby hold on to me.
Lyrics from the 1978 Eddie Money song “Baby Hold On.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s rope. Not the movie, they just borrowed his rope.
Rope is a 1948 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Jimmy Stewart as a professor who slowly comes to realize that two of his students have committed a murder. The film was shot in a series of long takes, most of them ten minutes in length (which was the amount of film held in a standard reel at the time). Often Hitchcock attempted to hide the changeover between reels by zooming in to a close-up of a man’s jacket or a section of upholstery; the next scene thus began with an identical close-up to provide a seamless transition.
Wow, he must be in “God Mode” with unlimited ammo.
God Mode was a hidden feature in the original version of the video game Doom. When players entered a special code, it gave them unlimited life and ammunition.
He looks like Vanity.
Vanity (real name Denise Matthews) is a musician who made it big in 1982 with the group Vanity 6, with the hit song “Nasty Girl.” The group, consisting of Vanity, Brenda, and Susan, was a spinoff from the Minneapolis-based Prince empire. Vanity left the group in 1984, but she never again attained the same success as with her first single. In the 1990s she became a born-again Christian and abandoned the rock scene.
Strawberry Quik, that’s what I’m thirsty for.
Nestle’s Strawberry Quik is a brand of milk flavoring with sweetener. It is sold in powder and liquid, and has a more popular chocolate-flavored counterpart.
Shoot ‘em all. We’ll make more.
“Crunch all you want, we’ll make more” was a slogan for Doritos tortilla chips in the mid-1990s.
Man from U.N.C.L.E. swish pan.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a tongue-in-cheek spy series that aired from 1964-1968. It starred Robert Vaughn as Napoleon Solo, the top agent for the United Network Command for Law Enforcement. The show used a particularly distinctive camera technique to cut between scenes, dubbed the whip pan or swish pan, in which the camera appeared to move so quickly that the screen became a colorful blur.
Eight O’Clock Coffee!
Eight O’Clock Coffee is a brand of coffee first introduced by the A&P supermarket chain in 1859. Today it is one of the largest coffee producers in the United States, located in Maryland.
I am an architect at a small Midwestern Bronx. The first building was Neo-Roman in style and ... More later.
An imitation of the type of letters frequently received at the “Penthouse Forum,” a column published in Penthouse magazine, in which readers would write in explicit letters about their “real-life” sexual experiences, most of which were wildly implausible. There is now a magazine called Penthouse Forum as well.
This is from the Hard to Find Tools catalog.
Yuppie gadget company Brookstone produces a specialty catalog called the Hard to Find Tools catalog.
Thank you, Brookstone. I knew this would come in handy.
See previous note.
Buck Fever has a real problem with these silver guys.
Buck Fever is a popular video game that simulates game hunting.
Real hard to find genuine Ringo caps anymore.
Ringo Starr was the drummer for The Beatles. During their heyday, people copied everything they did and wore, including Ringo’s fisherman’s cap, which can be seen in the movie Help (1965).
Stepping off the LEM. That’s one small step for man.
“LEM” is an acronym for Lunar Excursion Module. It was used to transport U.S. astronauts from their orbiting space capsule to the moon’s surface and back. Neil Armstrong delivered the famous “One small step” line as he set foot on the moon for the first time.
Stevie Nicks is a singer and songwriter who sang with Fleetwood Mac before embarking on a very successful solo career. She had well-publicized problems with cocaine before entering rehab in 1986.
Mister Sinatra coming through.
American crooner Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) is an entertainment legend, known for his commanding stage presence, memorable voice, and (surprisingly) hefty acting chops, as seen in such films as The Manchurian Candidate.
Get Richard Dreyfuss. Get him!
See note on Richard Dreyfuss, above.
Du cahn handle da truth.
Mocking the Italian accent of the actor, but delivering the famous Jack Nicholson line from the movie A Few Good Men (1992).
Richard Carpenter’s The Fog.
Richard Carpenter was half of the brother-sister musical team The Carpenters, along with his sister Karen. The duo released a string of soft-rock hits during the first half of the 1970s. The Fog is a 1980 horror film directed by John Carpenter about a small town invaded by a deadly fog. The movie starred a Who’s Who of horror films: Adrienne "Swamp Thing" Barbeau, Jamie Leigh "Halloween" Curtis, and Janet "Psycho" Leigh, among others.
GATT? GATT? There’s a trade treaty here?
GATT is an acronym for a treaty called the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which created a set of global trade rules. It was superseded by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was an actual organization that worked to enforce the trade rules.
Huggy Bear. Michael Jackson. Micky Dolenz. Randy Quaid. Bob Dylan. Uh, Huggy Bear again.
Huggy Bear (played by Antonio Fargas) was a recurring character on the TV show Starsky & Hutch who dressed like a stereotypical pimp; Michael Jackson (1958-2009) was the King of Pop, a wildly successful entertainer with a troubled personal life; Micky Dolenz played drums and acted in the 1960s TV show The Monkees; Randy Quaid is an actor who can be seen in the series of National Lampoon Vacation movies; and Bob Dylan is a poetic songwriter and musician.
Oh man, those Annie Sprinkle performances ... [Choke.]
The performance artist Annie Sprinkle had an infamous one-woman show called “Public Cervix Announcement,” which involved the audience getting to view that portion of her anatomy up close and personal using a speculum and a flashlight.
Quick, get to the halls of medicine.
Halls brand cough drops used the TV ad slogan “These are the halls of medicine” to promote their mentholated cough drops flavored with eucalyptus oil.
Please please me.
“Please Please Me” was an early hit for The Beatles, the second single ever released by the band (the first was “Love Me Do”).
Look, it says “Arne Saknussemm.”
In the 1864 Jules Verne fantasy novel A Journey to the Center of the Earth, the adventurers are following a map and trail left by a previous expedition led by Arne Saknussemm. Also a reference to Show 516, Alien from L.A., in which Kathy Ireland’s father is named Professor Arnold Saknussemm, in an obvious homage to Verne.
D’oh, they shot the asthmatic Nazi.
The National Socialist German Workers’ Party, popularly known as the Nazi Party, was the fascist political party in Germany run by Adolf Hitler.
The Monopoly guy has escaped.
The iconic cartoon man from Parker Brothers’ Monopoly game is named “Rich Uncle Pennybags.” His image appears on cards used throughout the game. The identity of the artist who created him is unknown, although it is believed that he is based in part on financier J.P. Morgan, one of the robber barons of the Gilded Age.
Rowr. Boards bad, rowr.
A reference to the slow, crude speech of Frankenstein’s monster from the classic Universal movies.
He dressed like Randle P. McMurphy to leave the Bronx.
Randle Patrick McMurphy was the lead character in the novel and movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. He was played by Jack Nicholson in the film. McMurphy fakes mental illness to avoid spending hard time in the penitentiary. (Spoiler alert!) He is lobotomized for challenging the status quo.
Panty raid! Man on the floor.
This is a dated college prank where guys invade the girls-only dorm to steal their underwear. Women were taught to scream “Man on the floor!” if one was sighted.
[Sung.] Push him in the ocean, his air hose broke. Lots of bubbles, lots of trouble. Hee hee hee.
Paraphrased lyrics from the B-52’s song “Rock Lobster”: “Motion in the ocean/His air hose broke/Lots of trouble/Lots of bubble/He was in a jam.”
You know, as destroyed as the Bronx is, there's still a Kinkos on every corner.
Kinkos was a nationwide retailer that provided document services such as copying, binding, and computer processing. They were bought by FedEx, dropped the name Kinkos, and are now FedEx Office stores, also providing mail services.
All right, we’re here in the KROQ supervan giving out ... Ahhh!
KROQ is the most popular rock format radio station in Los Angeles. Famed DJ Rodney Bingenheimer launched the careers of countless bands by giving them airplay, earning the moniker Mayor of the Sunset Strip. The station has multiple vans that give out promotional materials at public events.
Lindsey Buckingham, P.I.
Lindsey Buckingham played guitar and helped sing in the rock band Fleetwood Mac. He had black curly hair. “P.I.” is probably a reference to Magnum, P.I., a TV detective series that aired from 1980-1988.
I just disinfestated the Bronx. I’m going to Disneyland!
Disney Corporation ran an ad campaign in the late 1980s where they paid the winners of sporting events to turn to a reporter and shout “I’m going to Disneyland!” just after the denouement of the big game.
He looks like a cross between a silver-backed gorilla and Eddie Van Halen.
Eddie Van Halen is a Dutch-born electric guitar phenom who founded the rock band Van Halen in Pasadena in the mid-1970s.
[Sung.] Go ahead and hate your neighbor. Go ahead and cheat a friend.
A line from the ‘60s anti-war song “One Tin Soldier,” written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter. It became a charted hit in connection with the film Billy Jack (1971), and again when it was re-released in 1973, when it was performed by Jinx Dawson with the rock group Coven.
Okay, Omega Man, you can move your stuff in now.
Charlton Heston starred in The Omega Man, a 1971 film about a post-apocalyptic survivalist who refuses to leave Los Angeles, now overrun with mutant zombies. It was based on the 1954 sci-fi novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson.
[Whistled.] Theme from The Andy Griffith Show.
The whistled theme song to the 1960s TV classic Andy Griffith Show was titled “The Fishing Hole.” It was written by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer; Hagen also provided the whistling.
Clean up in Borough Five.
The expression “clean up in Aisle 5” relates to a PA announcement that something at the grocery store has spilled. New York City is split into five political boroughs: the Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn.
Of course, there was a Coppola in it.
Following on the heels of successful film director Francis Ford Coppola came his children and relations: actress Talia Shire (Rocky), composer Carmine Coppola (the Godfather films), director Sofia Coppola (Godfather III, The Bling Ring), and actor Nicolas Cage (born Nicolas Kim Coppola).
[Sung.] Someday love will find you/Break the chains that bind you/One night will remind you …
Lyrics from the Journey song “Separate Ways.”