622: Angels Revenge
by Wyn Hilty
Oh, the great Greydon Clark. –Is he related to True Don Bleu?
True Don Bleu was a radio host on KDWB in Minneapolis-St. Paul for ten years, beginning in 1968. He was one of the most popular Top 40 DJs in the state. From 1980-2015 he was a DJ in San Francisco.
I have a feeling Johnny Wadd is gonna be in this.
Johnny Wadd is a nickname for legendary porn actor John Holmes (1944-1988), taken from the lead character in a series of porn films he starred in beginning in 1973. Wadd was a private detective in the Philip Marlowe mold. Famous for being one of the most prolific male porn stars of the 1970s, Holmes later gained notoriety after being implicated in the brutal 1981 Wonderland murders, in which four people involved in drug dealing were beaten to death; Holmes was arrested, tried, and acquitted, as were two other people. The crimes officially remain unsolved. He died of AIDS complications in 1988.
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. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) has been a couple of secret organizations over the years; the first was founded just after the Civil War as a vigilante group designed to retain white supremacy in the South by intimidating newly freed black slaves. It had disappeared within twenty years. But in 1915 the group was revived, inspired by the film The Birth of a Nation, which portrayed the original KKK as a noble band striving to protect civilization from depraved African-Americans. The official uniform of Klan members was a set of white robes and a pointed white mask, used to conceal their identities. The organization peaked at a membership of about 4 million in the 1920s but had once again died out by the end of World War II. There was another brief resurgence of the Klan in the 1960s in response to the civil rights movement; today its membership is probably only a few thousand, and it has fragmented into several small and competing groups.
Colonel Sherman T. Potter (Henry Morgan) was the commanding officer at the 4077th on the M*A*S*H TV show. He was a fan of Westerns (particularly Zane Grey) and was often seen riding his horse, which was named Sophie.
I don’t know why, but I think it’s Eric Carmen.
Eric Carmen is a singer/songwriter popular in the 1970s. He started as a member of the Raspberries and then achieved solo success with his hits “All By Myself” and “Never Gonna Fall in Love Again.”
The few, the proud, the [aroused purr].
“The Few. The Proud. The Marines” is the longtime slogan of the U.S. Marine Corps. In 2007 it was honored by inclusion in the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame.
Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel was a flamboyant daredevil famous in the 1970s for his spangled white leather jumpsuits and for jumping his motorcycle over various things (mountain lions, Mack trucks, buses)—and, occasionally, for not jumping over things, such as Idaho’s Snake River Canyon, in the course of which stunt he nearly drowned. Although his 35 broken bones over the course of his career earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records, he ultimately died peacefully in bed at the age of 69.
I detect the liver-spotted hand of Aaron Spelling behind this.
Aaron Spelling (1923-2006) was the television producer behind such hits as Charlie’s Angels and Fantasy Island.
Connie Stevens is the Professional.
Connie Stevens is a singer and actress best known for her role as Cricket Blake in the TV detective show Hawaiian Eye; later in her career she headlined a successful Las Vegas act. Leon: The Professional is a 1994 French action movie starring Jean Reno as a professional hitman and Natalie Portman as his preteen apprentice. The film expands on ideas from director Luc Besson’s 1990 film La Femme Nikita.
A reference to Show 512, Mitchell.
Dear Ranger Rick Forum: I’m a forest ranger in a small Midwestern town …
Ranger Rick Magazine is a children’s magazine published by the National Wildlife Federation. The phrasing is 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.
David Mamet’s Oleanna.
Oleanna is a 1992 play by American playwright David Mamet about a student who accuses a male professor of sexually harassing her.
Gene Shalit wants his hair back.
Gene Shalit is the longtime film, theater, and art critic on the Today Show. He has famously wild, dark, curly hair.
They're doing their impression of the Madonna.
Not a reference to the pop singer. Madonna (Italian for “my lady”) or the Madonna refers to a portrayal of Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, who is shown in countless paintings and statues with her head bowed in serene repose.
When bad things happen to hot people.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a book by Harold Kushner that examines the age-old question of why God allows good people to suffer.
To Lady Clairol!
Lady Clairol is a brand of hair dye that became wildly popular starting in the mid-1950s, with the iconic slogan “If I have only one life, let me live it as a blonde!”
Semper fi, Marine!
Semper fi, short for “semper fidelis,” is Latin for “always faithful.” It was adopted as the slogan for the U.S. Marine Corps in 1883.
Kelly LeBrock’s heroes.
Kelly LeBrock is an actress who became famous in the 1980s for her roles in The Woman in Red (1984) and Weird Science (1985). Kelly’s Heroes is a 1970 film about a group of soldiers who sneak across enemy lines to steal a cache of Nazi treasure; it starred Clint Eastwood and Telly Savales.
[Hummed.] Ravel’s Bolero.
Maurice Ravel’s brief orchestral piece Bolero is his most famous work, consisting of a short melody repeated numerous times, gradually increasing to a full orchestral version. It was originally written as the score to a dance performance, but it is usually performed as a stand-alone piece. Sales of the piece jumped when it was presented as the ideal lovemaking background music in the 1979 romantic comedy 10, starring Dudley Moore and Bo Derek.
So these were the Carter years. –Well, I do sense a malaise here.
Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States, serving from 1976-1980. In 1979, in the depths of the energy crisis, he gave a speech in which he referred to a “crisis of confidence” among Americans. A couple of weeks later, he referred to the address at a town meeting, saying “I made a speech about two problems of our country—energy and malaise.” The address became known as the “malaise speech,” although Carter had not actually used the word in the speech. The comment was used to attack Carter’s pessimism, as opposed to rival Ronald Reagan’s sunny optimism; Carter lost to Reagan in the next year’s presidential election.
Charlie was close. I could smell his perfume.
During the Vietnam War, American military forces used “Charlie” to refer to the North Vietnamese communist forces or collaborators. It came from the initials VC, for Viet Cong, which in the NATO phonetic alphabet translates to “Victor Charlie.” Given the guerrilla warfare nature of the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong were rarely in plain sight, so a familiar scene in Vietnam films has American soldiers detecting the presence of the hidden enemy.
Squanto, a warrior’s tale.
Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale is a 1994 film starring Adam Beach as the Native American who befriended the Pilgrims on their arrival in the New World.
They’re attacking a Klingon language camp! –Good.
Klingons are an alien race on the TV series Star Trek. An entire language has been created for the Klingons, and there are many people out there who have devoted themselves to learning it. There’s even an organization—the Klingon Language Institute—dedicated to helping people learn how to speak Klingon. In 1993 the first ever Klingon Language Camp was held in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota.
And this was Carter’s hostage solution?
In 1979, during Jimmy Carter’s presidency, a group of revolutionaries seized the U.S. embassy in Iran, taking about sixty Americans hostage. Carter tried to secure their release through economic sanctions and other pressure on the Iranian government, but these measures failed. In 1980 he approved military action to rescue the hostages, but the attempt was abortive due to malfunctioning helicopters; one crashed on takeoff, killing eight soldiers. The public’s reaction to this fiasco probably helped Ronald Reagan win the presidential election some months later. The hostages were finally released moments after Reagan’s inauguration in January 1981.
I found the greatest shampoo—it’s called Body on Tap. Herbal Essences is good, but … oh, wait, I’ll tell you after we kill these guys.
Body on Tap was a popular shampoo in the 1970s. Its secret ingredient: beer. Herbal Essences is a brand of hair care products manufactured by Clairol.
[Hummed.] Oh Susanna.
A reference to the traditional song “Oh Susanna,” written by Stephen Foster. Sample lyrics: “Oh, Susanna/Oh don’t you cry for me/For I come from Alabama/With my banjo on my knee.”
The Green Barrettes.
The Green Berets is another name for the Special Forces branch of the U.S. Army, named after their distinctive headgear.
[Sung.] They told me, pa rum pum pum pum …
A line from the Christmas carol “The Little Drummer Boy.” Sample lyrics: “Come they told me pa rum pum pum pum/A new born King to see pa rum pum pum pum/Our finest gifts we bring pa rum pum pum pum/To lay before the King pa rum pum pum pum/rum pum pum pum/rum pum pum pum …”
For Lancôme! And Isabella Rossellini!
Lancôme Paris is a cosmetics company that sells a full line of beauty products: skin care, makeup, perfumes, etc. Actress/model Isabella Rossellini was the face of Lancôme for fourteen years, from 1982 to 1996, when she was famously let go for being too old (she was 43).
Jose Cardenal looks on.
Outfielder Jose Cardenal played for nine professional baseball teams over the course of his eighteen-year career, with his longest tenure being his five-year stretch with the Chicago Cubs.
It’s Miles O’Keeffe with breasts!
Miles O’Keeffe is a buff actor who has appeared in a fair number of Conan the Barbarian type movies, usually wearing a loincloth, a sword, and little else. He starred in Show 301, Cave Dwellers.
They’re so lucky—one of the first De Loreans!
The De Lorean was a sports car produced from 1981-1982. Famous for its gull-wing doors (which opened up rather than out), the car achieved immortality for its starring turn as a time machine in the popular Back to the Future movies.
Behind PTA lines.
The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) was founded in 1897 to address children’s education, health, and safety issues. Over the years, it has pushed for kindergarten classes, anti-child-labor laws, hot lunch programs, and the like. Most schools have a local version of the national organization.
Freddy Fender (1937-2006) was a Hispanic guitarist who started out singing Spanish pop in the 1950s, moved to a wider audience by performing in English in the 1970s, and later played in the band Texas Tornados.
Addie, is that the issue you're in?
Susan Kiger, who plays Vegas lounge singer Michelle "Shine Your Love" Williams, was in fact Playmate of the Month in January 1977.
Wish I hadn’t bought a Playgirl. Aw, heck, they’re nude, anyway.
Playgirl magazine was founded in 1973 in the wake of successful men’s magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse. Each issue features full frontal male nudity. The magazine is largely aimed at hetero women, although it also has a substantial gay audience.
I've got a scathingly brilliant idea.
"I've got the most scathingly brilliant idea!" is a line from the 1966 film The Trouble With Angels, which starred Hayley Mills as a girl attending a Catholic girls boarding school and Rosalind Russell as the nun who heads the school.
Okay, sound by Hanna-Barbera, fine.
Hanna-Barbera Studio, founded in 1957, is one of the main animation houses in the United States. Its shows include Tom & Jerry, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo. Its shows tend to be cheaply drawn and produced but highly profitable.
I think this place smuggles black market Galleries and Easy Riders.
Two popular men's magazines of the era: Gallery magazine premiered in 1972 with interviews of famous manly men and a photo shoot with Linda Evans; Easyrider is a popular biker mag. (Thanks to Stephan Hammerberg for this reference.)
[Sung.] Can’t get enough Super Sugar Crisp …
An advertising jingle for Super Sugar Crisp cereal, sung by cereal mascot Sugar Bear.
I still like this better than City Slickers II.
City Slickers II: The Revenge of Curly’s Gold is the 1994 sequel to the successful 1991 film City Slickers. Both films featured Jack Palance as tough cowboy Duke Washburn.
[Sung.] Vaguely Strauss, but not!
Sung to the tune of “Also sprach Zarathustra,” a tone poem by composer Richard Strauss, famously used as the theme music to the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Hey, the Strauss monster’s here in his van!
See previous note.
Not the Self-styling Adorn!
Self-styling Adorn was a brand of super-stiff hairspray that first became popular in the 1950s.
It’s the T&A team!
The A-Team was a TV series that aired from 1983-1986. It starred George Peppard as the leader of a group of unjustly convicted veterans who try to evade the MPs while helping people with their personal problems.
This isn’t as cool as Electra Woman and Dyna Girl.
Electra Woman and Dyna Girl was a TV series from 1976 about a pair of gorgeous costumed superbabes. It starred Deirdre Hall and Judy Strangis.
Fred Sanford (played by Redd Foxx) was the co-owner with his son of a junkyard on the TV series Sanford and Son (1972-1977). He drove a beat-up 1951 Ford truck.
This is the weirdest Merchant Ivory film.
Merchant Ivory Productions is a movie studio known for high-class films often based on classic novels, particularly by E.M. Forster (A Room with a View, Howard’s End) and Henry James (The Bostonians, The Golden Bowl).
Yeah, they’re all listening to Charlie Daniels in there.
Charlie Daniels is a country musician best known for his 1979 hit song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
There goes another Pump N Munch.
Pump N Munch is a chain of convenience stores/gas stations popular in Minnesota.
The air filled with Slim Jims and obscene trucker tapes …
Slim Jims are a brand of beef jerky snack marketed primarily to teens and manufactured by ConAgra Foods.
United Parcel Service, or UPS, is a package delivery service founded in 1907; today it is a multibillion-dollar corporation.
“I’m a schoolteacher.” I carry a badge.
“I work here. I carry a badge. My name’s Friday” was the opening narration to the TV series Dragnet (1967-1970).
“Angels Revenge.” Gabriel is out for justice.
Gabriel is one of God’s angels in Judeo-Christian tradition; according to the Book of Luke, Gabriel is the angel who visits Mary to reveal that she will bear the son of God (known as the Annunciation).
You know, I have to say, Jim Backus looks good in a jumpsuit.
Jim Backus (1913-1989), who plays Commander Lindsey March in Angels Revenge, was best known for playing millionaire Thurston Howell III on Gilligan’s Island. He also provided the voice of cartoon character Mr. Magoo. But he had a lengthy career in Hollywood and worked on major films, including Rebel Without a Cause (in which he played James Dean's father), Deadline - U.S.A. (with Humphrey Bogart and Ethel Barrymore), and Man of a Thousand Faces (a bio of Lon Chaney starring James Cagney).
Hey, Mr. Haney!
Mr. Haney (played by Pat Buttram) was the local salesman/con man on the TV sitcom Green Acres, which aired from 1965-1971.
And Sir Laurence Olivier.
Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was an actor who appeared in more than 80 movies over the course of his long career. He played roles in many classic films, including Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Pride and Prejudice, and Hamlet.
Robert Urich is Dan Tanna.
Dan Tanna, played by actor Robert Urich, was the private investigator on the TV series Vega$, which aired from 1978-1981.
Any time is right for a Beck’s beer.
Beck’s beer is a German beer, a popular export in the United States; the brewery was founded in 1873.
“I’m not a pawn shop.” I’m a human being.
A reference to the line “I am not an animal. I am a human being,” from the 1980 film The Elephant Man, about the life of Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film), a severely deformed man who became something of a celebrity in 19th-century London. The film, directed by David Lynch, was based on a Tony Award-winning 1979 Broadway play.
He’s a Smarties dealer!
Smarties are little fruit-flavored candies, similar to SweeTarts. Introduced in 1949, they are made by Smarties Candy Company, formerly Ce De Candy, Inc. In Europe and the Middle East, a different confection—candy-coated chocolates similar to M&Ms, made by Nestle—are also called “Smarties.”
Great, I have to hire protection from Marycrest Elementary.
Marycrest Elementary School is a public school in Joliet, Illinois.
I’m gonna put on the suit the aliens gave me.
In the TV series The Greatest American Hero (1981-1986), schoolteacher Ralph Hinkley (played by William Katt) becomes a superhero after he acquires a suit from aliens that has special powers.
Willie Aames in the Vince Van Patten story.
Willie Aames is an actor who played sidekicks on the TV series Eight Is Enough and Charles in Charge. He has famously large and curly hair. Vince Van Patten, son of actor Dick Van Patten, started out as an actor but retired from showbiz to launch a professional tennis career. He did quite well, rising to forty-first in the world rankings of pro tennis players. He later returned to acting, landing parts on Baywatch and the soap opera The Young and the Restless.
The loneliest druggie.
In 1976, Michael Landon directed, wrote, and acted in a TV movie called The Loneliest Runner, which starred Lance Kerwin as an Olympic hopeful with a bedwetting problem. The movie was based on Landon’s own childhood struggle with bedwetting, and he played the Kerwin character as an adult.
Squanto in LA.
See note on Squanto, above.
Joints? Doobies? Spliffs? Reefers?
All slang words for marijuana cigarettes, though a spliff is actually more like a large, somewhat cone-shaped marijuana cigar, a favored ganja delivery method on the island of Jamaica. In many European countries, however, “spliff” means a cigarette combining marijuana and tobacco.
Now let’s go get you a Peanut Buster Parfait, huh?
The Peanut Buster Parfait is a sundae served by the Dairy Queen chain of restaurants, consisting of soft-serve ice cream, peanuts, and fudge sauce.
I’ll be disappointed if Grant Goodeve isn’t in this.
Grant Goodeve is an actor best known for playing the oldest son on the TV series Eight Is Enough; he has also appeared on Northern Exposure and acts as the host for several TV series. He has also recorded a couple of albums of Christian music.
[Sung.] We’re addicted kids/Ten million strong and growing …
A parody of the famous jingle for Flintstones vitamins. Weird irrelevant trivia: the girl who sang the jingle (now all grown up) was our dogsitter for several years.
The mean streets of Ojai.
Ojai, California, is a small city north of Los Angeles known as an artists’ haven; population about 8,000.
Heidi Fleiss, a.k.a. the Hollywood Madam, was convicted in 1997 of running a prostitution ring in Los Angeles and served 21 months in prison. Her case attracted enormous media attention because her customers allegedly included many actors and other Hollywood figures, although the only celebrity client “outed” was actor Charlie Sheen.
James at 15 miles an hour.
James at 15 began as a 1977 made-for-TV movie and then became a series (NBC, 1977-1978), changing to James at 16 midway through its lone season. The story of an imaginative adolescent struggling to adapt after a cross-country move, the series was praised for its realism and avoidance of stereotypes, paving the way for such later series as My So-Called Life (ABC, 1994-1995) and Dawson’s Creek (The WB, 1998-2003).
It’s hard to jog wearing Orlon.
Orlon is a synthetic fiber invented in 1941, initially as a replacement for wool. It is used in all kinds of textiles, including sweaters. It is manufactured by DuPont.
The Bad News Bears are gonna lose that game today! Aren’t they?!
The Bad News Bears were the Little League baseball team featured in a series of three movies, beginning with The Bad News Bears in 1976; there was also a short-lived TV series based on the films. A 2005 remake of the first film starred Billy Bob Thornton in the lead role originally played by Walter Matthau.
I’ve got Gambino ties!
The Gambinos are one of the major Mafia families in New York City. They reached their height of power during the 1960s under Carlo Gambino and became well-known in the 1980s under the flamboyant leadership of John Gotti, who was eventually sentenced to life in prison in 1992.
SweeTarts are small sweet-and-sour candies manufactured by Nestle and first marketed in 1963.
Ah, the filthy, unfunny comedy of Buddy Hackett.
Buddy Hackett (1924-2003) was a nightclub comedian and actor who had a huge show in Las Vegas for many years, where he was one of its most successful entertainers. He was known for his vaguely off-color comedy routines.
That’s not Flip Wilson, honey. –Yes, it is, it’s that Geraldine character.
One of comedian Flip Wilson’s (1933-1998) most popular characters was Geraldine, a wisecracking drag queen known for her two famous catchphrases: “What you see is what you get” and “The devil made me do it!”
She sang with Iggy Pop, you know.
Iggy Pop is widely considered the godfather of the punk movement due to his work with seminal 1970s band The Stooges. After that band broke up, he struck out on a solo career.
This audience would riot if they saw KC and the Sunshine Band.
KC and the Sunshine Band hit their peak of popularity in the disco era with such hits as “That’s the Way (I Like It)” and “Shake Your Booty.”
This is one of Cole Porter’s worst songs.
Cole Porter (1891-1964) was a composer who wrote many classic songs and musicals during the first half of the 20th century. His musicals include Kiss Me Kate and Anything Goes; hit songs include “I Get a Kick Out of You” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg on backup.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Supreme Court justice, the second woman ever appointed to the court. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She is considered among the more liberal members of the court.
Arthur Godfrey, will you shine your love?
Arthur Godfrey (1903-1983) was one of the biggest television stars during the 1950s, a freckly ukulele-playing redhead who hosted two television variety shows in addition to a wildly popular radio show. He was also a phenomenally successful pitchman in an era when TV hosts openly shilled sponsors’ products on their shows. By the time Angels Revenge came along, however, his career was basically over; his radio show had gone off the air in 1972, and his public image had been marred by vicious spats with his co-stars, allegations of anti-Semitism, and a string of articles linking him romantically to several young female employees.
If shining deer is illegal, why isn't shining your love?
Shining deer refers to the practice of using high-powered flashlights or spotlights to locate deer at night, when they are usually more active. The legality of this varies from state to state, but generally speaking it is illegal to shine deer if you are in possession of hunting equipment (guns, bows, etc.). In other words, you could go out shining on Friday to figure out where the deer are lurking and then hunt them on Saturday, but leave the guns at home if you have a million-candlelight spotlight on you.
In the parlance of LSD users, “peaking” means the point in the arc of an LSD experience where the effects of the drug are at their most intense.
Next on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, one of the greatest influences on the disco scene of the late ‘70s.
Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert was a syndicated musical variety show that aired on TV stations across the country from 1973-1981. It featured such bands as the Rolling Stones, the Ramones, the Bee Gees, and Devo. Disco is a style of dance music that peaked in popularity in the late 1970s. A counter to the rock music that dominated the era, disco ruled the nightclub landscape for several years, and there were numerous disco radio hits and top-selling records. It was further popularized by the hit 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever and made stars of such artists as the Bee Gees (who were prominently featured in the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack), Donna Summer, and KC and the Sunshine Band.
We’ve never seen such great disco!
See previous note.
Thank you, you’re all fired, you have no humility, all of you.
In 1953, Arthur Godfrey (see above note) announced on the air that one of the most popular singers and dancers in his ensemble, Julius LaRossa, a regular on both the morning Arthur Godfrey Time (broadcast on both the CBS radio and TV networks) and the weekly variety show Arthur Godfrey and His Friends (CBS TV), had just sung his “swan song” and would be leaving the show. The news came as a surprise to everyone, especially LaRossa. Godfrey later said at a press conference that LaRossa had lost his “humility.” Within days, Godfrey began firing numerous other regular cast members and producers, including his longtime bandleader, Archie Bleyer. Those firings, and other revelations about Godfrey's less than warm-hearted off-camera personality, soured his folksy image and led to a steep decline in his popularity.
Take the wheel, Skipper.
Alan Hale Jr. (1918-1990) played the Skipper in the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island (1964-1967).
You want me to be a greeter? Sure!
In the 1970s and 1980s, Alan Hale owned a restaurant in West Hollywood called Alan Hale’s Lobster Barrel, where he often greeted guests wearing his skipper’s hat from Gilligan’s Island.
No, I will not call you little buddy!
In his role as Skipper on Gilligan’s Island (see previous note), Alan Hale referred to Gilligan as “Little buddy.”
He looks a lot like Gertrude Stein.
Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an author in the first half of the 20th century; her home in Paris, which she shared with her companion Alice B. Toklas, hosted salons attended by many of the leading artists and intellectuals of the day, including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
[Sung.] Three fountains in a fountain …
Three Coins in the Fountain is a 1954 film about three American girls looking for love in Rome. Its theme song, by the same name, was subsequently recorded by the Four Aces and became a smash hit; Frank Sinatra also recorded a highly popular version of the song.
He’s practicing to be on Mike Douglas.
The Mike Douglas Show was a daytime talk/variety show hosted by singer Mike Douglas. It ran for virtually forever, from 1961-1981. Featured guests included Richard Pryor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and a two-year-old Tiger Woods. Instead of the typical talk show set, in which the host sits behind a desk and the guests are on a couch, Douglas and his guests all sat in a row of office-style chairs.
I almost called you Gilligan.
See note on Alan Hale, above.
It’s Fran Lebowitz! Still not writing.
Fran Lebowitz is a humor writer who has written for Mademoiselle and published several books of essays. For about thirty years, she has allegedly been engaged in writing a novel titled Exterior Signs of Wealth, which so far shows no signs of seeing daylight due to a severe case of writer's block.
Welcome to Skipper’s! Maybe you’d like to wait in the bar.
See above note on Alan Hale's Lobster Barrel.
“Nobody deserves a beating like that.” Pauly Shore does.
Pauly Shore is an actor and comedian who has starred in a number of irritating films, including Son in Law, Jury Duty, and Bio-Dome. He is the son of legendary comedy club owner Mitzi Shore, founder of The Comedy Store in Los Angeles.
He also made an attempt on Ford’s life.
In 1975, a former Manson Family member named Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme attempted to assassinate then-President Gerald Ford in Sacramento, California. Seventeen days later, another woman, Sara Jane Moore, fired a shot at Ford but was equally unsuccessful (a bystander was slightly wounded). Fromme was finally released on parole in 2009; Moore was paroled in 2007.
It’s got wings.
In the 1980s, manufacturers of sanitary napkins introduced “wings,” small tabs that folded around the bottom of women’s underwear; this helped reduce leakage and staining during a woman’s period.
Here’s a Velamint stuck to a Kleenex. Want it?
Velamints were a brand of sugar-free mints sold in various flavors and introduced in 1977; they have since been discontinued by the manufacturer. Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue made by Kimberly-Clark. It was introduced in 1924.
A map of historic Williamsburg.
Colonial Williamsburg is a historical attraction in Virginia, originally the capital of Virginia during the Revolutionary period. In the 1920s, an effort began to preserve the historic buildings in the town that eventually morphed into the 300-acre Historic Area, where hundreds of reconstructed buildings and costumed employees convey what life was like during the colonial era.
A very special All-American Girl.
All-American Girl was a 1994 TV sitcom starring Korean-American comedian Margaret Cho; it did poorly in the ratings and lasted only one season. Television promos promising “a very special” episode of a sitcom or drama are a tip-off that the show will attempt to tackle a social issue, such as underage drinking or eating disorders. People will learn a valuable lesson. There will be hugs.
An imitation of Olive Oyl, Popeye’s tall, gangly love interest in the comic strip “Thimble Theater” and in the series of animated cartoons based on the strip. Her voice was supplied by Mae “Betty Boop” Questel.
Maxfli Golf is a manufacturer of golf balls and clubs.
Tommy Chong is a comedian, half of the stoner comedy team Cheech and Chong.
We will, like, bury you.
During a typically fiery speech in 1956, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said, addressing a group of Western diplomats, “Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you!” Years later, Khrushchev commented that his words had been misunderstood: “I once said ‘We will bury you,’ and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.”
“I wonder where Maria is.” Singing with the Von Trapps.
The Von Trapps were the singing family portrayed in the musical The Sound of Music; Maria was the matriarch of the clan.
I’ve been guarding the 1 Potato 2 for about a week now.
1 Potato 2, a fast food restaurant chain based in Minneapolis, is a staple of mall food courts.
Watch the lady! Watch the lady!
A common street scam known as three card monte, a.k.a. “Find the Lady,” focuses on three playing cards, two aces and one queen or king. The con man appears to mix them facedown when in reality he is using sleight of hand to control the placement of the cards. That plus the use of “shills” in the crowd, who are working with the dealer, makes it impossible for anyone to win the game. Don't even try.
This happened on Designing Women once.
Designing Women was a television sitcom about a group of women who ran an interior decorating business. It aired from 1986-1993.
Right on, Willona.
Willona Woods was the next-door neighbor of the Evans family on the TV series Good Times, which aired from 1974-1979. The part was played by Ja’net DuBois.
[Sung.] Green Acres theme.
This is the theme song to Green Acres, a TV sitcom that ran from 1965 to 1971; it starred Eva Gabor (1919-1995) as Lisa Douglas, the socialite wife of an attorney who tries to adapt to life in the rural town of Hooterville. Pat Buttram, who plays the car dealer here, played Mr. Haney on Green Acres.
This is made out to Gabby Hayes!
George “Gabby” Hayes (1885-1969) was a character actor who played sidekick to some of the top Western stars of the 20th century, including Roy Rogers, Randolph Scott, and John Wayne. His sidekicking career spanned two decades and included such films as The Frontiersmen (1938) and Man From Oklahoma (1945).
Olympia Dukakis, ladies and gentlemen.
Olympia Dukakis is an actress who has appeared in character roles in a number of films and stage productions; she won an Oscar for what is probably her most famous part, the Italian matriarch in the 1987 film Moonstruck. Her cousin, Michael Dukakis, is a onetime presidential candidate.
They can get All My Children!
All My Children is a forever-running soap opera that first aired in 1970.
It’s the Charlene Tilton channel!
Charlene Tilton is an actress known primarily for her role as Lucy Ewing on the prime-time sudser Dallas (1978-1991); she also did a series of commercials for the “Abdominizer” in the 1990s.
Sometimes a bazooka’s just a bazooka.
“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” is generally attributed to Sigmund Freud, for whom a cigar was almost never just a cigar. Freud (1856-1939) was an Austrian medical doctor who is generally considered the father of psychoanalysis. A firm believer in analyzing dreams to gain insight into one’s unconscious, Freud emphasized the influence of sexual desire on human psychology; formulated the concept of the id, the ego, and the superego; and laid the foundation for modern psychotherapy and the “talking cure.” His dream analysis placed great emphasis on the subconscious meaning of images, particularly phallic imagery. The quote “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” is meant to demonstrate that he didn’t always believe everything had a deeper symbolic meaning. (It should be noted that Freud was an inveterate cigar smoker.) But there’s no proof he ever actually said that, and the phrase doesn’t appear in any of his writings; the earliest references to it date to around the 1950s.
Headed by Newt Gingrich.
Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House of Representatives in 1995 after the Republicans took control of the House in the so-called “Republican Revolution.” He resigned in 1998 after the Republicans made an exceptionally poor showing in that fall’s elections. In 2011 he ran for the Republican nomination for president and was briefly the front-runner before losing the nomination to Mitt Romney.
Hey, it’s Lynne Russell’s house.
Lynne Russell was an anchor on CNN’s Headline News from 1983 to 2001: a statuesque redhead who was also a licensed private detective and sheriff’s deputy with a license to carry a firearm.
You and your date will be chauffeured to exotic Centerville, Minnesota.
Centerville is a small town in eastern central Minnesota, with a population of about 3,200 people.
She must be engaged to Sean Penn.
Actor Sean Penn gained a reputation for having a violent temper during his marriage to pop singer Madonna, which lasted from 1985 to 1989. During that time, Penn was arrested for beating a photographer and was charged with felony domestic assault; he ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
Look at that, Stanley.
An imitation of Oliver Hardy (1892-1957), half of the comedy team Laurel & Hardy, which made a string of movies during the 1920s and ’30s. Hardy, a stout man, played a childish, bossy, fussy character opposite Stan Laurel’s thin, gentle incompetent.
She’s getting more and more Tina Louisey.
Tina Louise is an actress best known for portraying sultry starlet Ginger Grant on the TV sitcom Gilligan’s Island.
Jim Backus as John Philip Sousa.
John Philip Sousa (1854-1932) was an American composer known for his military marches, which have survived to this day; “The Liberty Bell March” saw use as the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
It’s Knight Rider for moms.
Knight Rider was a TV show that aired from 1982-1986. It starred David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight, a detective with a talking car.
If only poor Jim had gotten residuals from Gilligan’s Island.
See above note on Jim Backus.
The Hudson Brothers were funnier than these guys.
The Hudson Brothers were a pop group during the 1970s, consisting of siblings Bill, Mark, and Brett Hudson. Their more popular songs included “So You Are a Star” and “Rendezvous.” They also had a couple of short-lived TV variety shows during the mid-1970s.
John Irving as Adolf Hitler in The Babe.
John Irving is a writer whose best-known works include The World According to Garp and The Cider-House Rules. He has appeared in bit parts in the films based on his novels. Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was the dictator of Germany during World War II (1939-1945). The Babe is a 1992 biopic about Babe Ruth, starring John Goodman as the legendary slugger.
You know, now I appreciate the quiet dignity of Pat Buttram’s performance.
See above note.
Circus of the B-Movie Stars.
Circus of the Stars was an annual television special that ran from 1977 to 1991. It featured assorted actors performing traditional circus acts.
I’d rather spend a weekend in Robert Bork’s underpants than watch more of this!
Robert Bork (1927-2012) was a legal scholar and the former attorney general of the United States. In 1987 he was nominated by then-President Ronald Reagan to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. He was attacked by civil rights and abortion rights organizations as a hard-right extremist, and the Senate ultimately voted to reject his nomination; the vacancy was eventually filled by Anthony Kennedy.
Still, it’s all going much smoother than the Bay of Pigs operation.
The Bay of Pigs invasion took place on April 17, 1961. It was an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the communist government of Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Plotted by the CIA and executed by about 1,500 Cuban exiles, the invasion lasted only about two days before all the exiles had been killed or captured by Castro’s forces. The invasion was a fiasco and a serious political problem for the Kennedy administration, which had authorized the strike.
So Jim Backus is the god of wine, right?
Bacchus was the Roman god of wine and inebriation; his Greek equivalent was Dionysius.
Boy, this Tom Clancy novel really loses something in the film version.
Tom Clancy (1947-2013) was a popular author of techno thrillers, many of which have been turned into films. A sampling:The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears.
Eunice “Lovey” Howell was the wife of Thurston Howell III (see above note) on the TV series Gilligan’s Island; the part was played by Natalie Schafer.
In the name of Natalie Schafer, you’re all under arrest.
See previous note.
The Apollo astronauts.
The Apollo space program was the program run by NASA from 1961-1975, which included the first moon landing in 1969. Thirty-eight astronauts took part in Apollo missions, including many familiar names: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Alan Shepard, and James Lovell.
Miss Jane Pittman in Striking Distance.
The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is a 1971 novel by Ernest J. Gaines, about the life of a woman born into slavery. It was made into a TV movie starring Cicely Tyson in 1974. Striking Distance is a 1993 action film starring Bruce Willis as a cop seeking to avenge the death of his policeman father.
Oh, an Orrin Thompson home.
Orrin Thompson Homes is a real estate developer based in Wayzata, Minnesota, to the west of Minneapolis.
And Jim Backus gracefully closes his career.
Jim Backus’ last film actually was Prince Jack, a 1985 dramatization of the John F. Kennedy administration. Backus played Texas journalist Ted Dealey.
Five Mrs. Buchanans on a rampage.
The 5 Mrs. Buchanans was a short-lived TV series that aired from 1994-1995, about four sisters-in-law in a small town and their fraught relations with their horrible mother-in-law (the fifth Mrs. Buchanan). (Thanks to Heather Barrett for this reference.)
Snapple is a brand of bottled teas and juices. They were introduced in 1972 and are now available in eighty countries around the world.
I’m the NRA, and it’s fun!
“I’m the NRA” is an advertising slogan for the National Rifle Association, the powerful gun lobbying group.
Fox Force Five.
Fox Force Five was the name of the failed television pilot that Uma Thurman’s character appeared in in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.
Marjoe Gortner is an ex-evangelical preacher/con man whose documentary exposé about himself, Marjoe, won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1972. After the success of his film, Gortner embarked on a brief acting career, with roles in films like Earthquake (1973) and in the Kojak pilot.
Wow, the oil embargo is going to affect his shirt supply.
In 1973, OPEC imposed an oil embargo on Western countries that had supported Israel in its recent war against Egypt and Syria. Oil prices immediately shot up, and the move sparked the United States’ first major energy crisis of the 1970s. The embargo ended after a tortuous series of diplomatic efforts that included persuading Israel to withdraw from parts of the territory it had seized in the war.
Hey, Cheech, man!
Cheech Marin is a comedian and actor best known as half of the pot-happy comedy duo Cheech & Chong. He has also appeared in a number of movies and television shows, including Desperado (1995) and From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).
[Sung.] She beat me up in her Chevy van, and that’s all right with me …
A reference to the song “Chevy Van” by Sammy Jones. Sample lyrics: “Like a picture she was laying there/And moonlight dancing off her hair/She woke up and took me by the hand/She's gonna love me in my Chevy van/And that's all right with me …”
Oh, he’s having a baby! What a lovely way to say how much he loves me.
“Having My Baby” is one of crooner Paul Anka’s signature songs. Sample lyrics: “Having my baby/What a lovely way of saying how much you love me/Having my baby/What a lovely way of saying what you're thinking of me …”
These are my Chess King pants!
Chess King was a men’s clothing retailer that was very popular in the 1970s and 1980s.
This is a tough fourth step.
In twelve step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, the fourth step is generally one in which you sit down and write out a "moral inventory" of yourself, trying to explore your past and look for the roots of your addiction.
It’s Dworkin Fest ’78.
Andrea Dworkin (1946-2005) was a radical feminist known for her fierce crusade against pornography, which she argued encouraged violence against women. She claimed that depictions of heterosexual intercourse in Western culture had created a climate in which sex itself was used to subjugate women, an argument that has often been oversimplified as “All heterosexual intercourse is rape.”
It’s a wanton, unauthorized bris.
The Jewish ceremony of bris involves the ritual circumcision of a male infant.
Meanwhile, on the beaches of Scotland ...
Variations of this phrase originated with cards inserted in silent films of the early 20th century. In westerns, this was often “Meanwhile, back at the ranch ...” Once audio became a common component, the phrase was still used by narrators for films, radio, and television shows. Most recently, it was used in the various Superfriends animated series of the late 1970s. Narrator Ted Knight would say, “Meanwhile, back at the Hall of Justice ...” or “Meanwhile, at the Legion of Doom ...”
“He said this was the place.” With the helpful hardware man.
“Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man” is an old advertising jingle for the Ace Hardware chain of stores.
[Sung.] Where the buoys are …
Where the Boys Are is a 1960 comedy/drama about four coeds who travel to Fort Lauderdale on spring break, in search of fun and men.
“You want to tell the boss that?” Springsteen?
Bruce Springsteen is an iconic folk and rock musician who has remained consistently popular since the early 1970s. Early in his career, his fellow musicians nicknamed him “The Boss,” which he initially disliked but now seems to have come to terms with.
You know what this scene needs? Eddie Deezen.
Eddie Deezen is an actor primarily known for playing nerds, in such films as Grease and WarGames. He was reportedly rejected for a role in the film Revenge of the Nerds for being too geeky. He has also done a lot of voiceover work for animation, including Johnny Bravo and Dexter’s Laboratory, on which he plays arch-villain Mandark. He appeared in Show 706, Laserblast.
Finally, someone Jim Varney can feel superior to.
Jim Varney (1949-2000) was an actor, comedian and writer best known for his portrayal of the bumbling Ernest P. Worrell on commercials and in a series of movies.
Sandy Hackett, ladies and gentlemen.
Sandy Hackett is a comedian and actor and the son of fellow comedian Buddy Hackett (see above note).
This doesn’t do it for me like that similar scene in The Violent Years. –Yeah, the director doesn’t have Ed Wood’s passion for this kind of material.
A reference to the scene in Show 610, The Violent Years, in which the gang of delinquent girls take sexual advantage of a gangly young man at gunpoint.
Oh, Robert Reich is sailing.
Robert Reich is an extremely short (4-foot-10) politician who served as President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of Labor from 1993-1997.
This is your brain on sex. Any questions?
A variation on the famous anti-drug TV ad of the late 1980s. Produced by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the ad showed two eggs sizzling in a frying pan, with the slogan: “This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
They’re going to get medieval on his ass.
A reference to a famous line in the film Pulp Fiction, spoken by Ving Rhames: “I ain’t through with you by a damn sight. I’m gonna get medieval on your ass!”
Oil can! Oil can!
“Oil can!” is what the rusted Tin Woodsman says when he first meets Dorothy in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Well, I have to warn you, I have an elaborate network of trusses.
In a recurring skit on the early seasons of Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present), Dan Aykroyd, looking more like a 1950s high school algebra teacher than a gigolo, would proudly and frequently proclaim himself to be “Fred Garvin, male prostitute.” He would then warn his customers that he sported “an elaborate network of trusses.”
I still like this better than The Blue Lagoon.
The Blue Lagoon is a 1980 movie about two children who are shipwrecked on a deserted island and grow up together, ultimately falling in love. The film starred Brooke Shields and Christopher Atkins.
[Sung.] C&H pure cane sugar from Hawaii …
“C&H pure cane sugar, that’s the one” is an old jingle for C&H sugar.
It’s the Mariel Hemingway boat lift.
Mariel Hemingway is an actress who has appeared in such films as Manhattan (1979) and Star 80 (1983). The Mariel boat lift was a mass migration of Cubans from Mariel Harbor in Cuba to Florida. The Cubans left with the blessing of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, and it turned out later that a number of them had been released from jails and mental hospitals before they emigrated. More than 100,000 Cuban émigrés made the journey between April and October 1980.
The survivors of the Achille Lauro are around the buoy, but here come the survivors of the Titanic looking very good …
The Achille Lauro was an Italian cruise ship that in 1985 was hijacked by Palestinian terrorists, who took the passengers hostage and demanded the release of 50 Palestinians being held prisoner by the Israelis in exchange for their safe return. One passenger, a retired Jewish-American businessman in a wheelchair, was murdered and his body thrown overboard; his wife, who was also on board, did not find out about his death until the crisis was over. After two days of negotiations, the hijackers agreed to leave the ship and flew to Italy, where they were arrested. The Titanic was a luxury passenger ship that sank on its maiden voyage in 1912, killing about 1,500 people on board.
They wanted Bob Denver for this role.
Bob Denver (1935-2005) played the title role in the TV series Gilligan’s Island (see above note).
Meanwhile, Richard Nixon’s wasting millions on the Glomar Explorer.
Richard Nixon (1913-1994) was the 37th president of the United States, from 1969-1974. The Glomar Explorer was a ship constructed in 1973 with the ostensible purpose of mining manganese nodules from the ocean floor. In fact, the ship was under secret contract to the CIA, which wanted to use it to retrieve a Soviet nuclear submarine that had sunk near Hawaii in 1968. The retrieval failed when the claw that clamped onto the sub was damaged and the submarine came apart and plummeted back to the sea floor. The portion of the sub retrieved did contain the remains of several Soviet sailors, who were given a formal burial at sea.
The commode that fell from grace with the sea.
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea is a 1963 novel by Yukio Mishima about a sailor who falls in love with a woman whose teenage son is in a gang. In 1976 the novel was adapted into a film starring Kris Kristofferson.
Quick, pretend you’re Shawn Phillips!
Shawn Phillips is a popular musician who released a string of albums in the 1970s, including Contribution and Faces. He had famously long, flowing hair.
Jane Campion’s The Piano Stool.
The Piano is a 1993 film starring Holly Hunter as a woman who refuses to speak, and who communicates only through the music she plays on her piano. It was directed by Jane Campion.
[Sung.] Kellogg’s a puffa puffa rice Yummy yummy, I dig a dig a bowl full, catchum a big big flavor, oceans …
A line from the 1960s-era jingle for Puffa Puffa Rice cereal: “Uh new-ah, uh-now-uh, Kellogg's uh bring you (uhm!) new kind breakfast cereal (uhm!)/New kind toasted rice; him call Kellogg's Puffa Puffa Rice/Yummy Yumma, digga digga bowlful (uhm!)/Him got big big flavor; oceans of energy, oceans of ener—him call Kellogg's …”
So, did they row all the way from Colombia to drop off the drugs?
The Republic of Colombia is a large South American country that is rich in natural resources, with coffee, oil, and forest products being major exports. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Colombia was also known as the world’s largest producer of cocaine. A major government offensive against the drug trade beginning in 2002 proved effective, and since 2012 cocaine production and its associated violence have dropped significantly.
This is straight out of the Bradys in Hawaii.
The fourth season of The Brady Bunch TV series began with a three-part episode that saw the family travel to Hawaii, where the boys get into trouble when they find an ancient tiki idol.
The Mommies. An action-packed adventure.
The Mommies (Marilyn Kentz and Caryl Kristensen) are a Californian standup comedy duo. From 1993 to 1995 they starred in their very own sitcom, The Mommies.
On June 6, 1944, the Allied forces launched a major assault on Hitler’s forces in France with an amphibious landing on the beaches in Normandy: D-Day. Many of the beaches where the Allied troops waded ashore were heavily fortified by the Germans, and casualties were horrendous.
I’m sure Gidget’s tied up in this somehow.
Gidget was a 1959 movie about a young girl who discovers the joys of love and surfing with a fella named Moondoggy; it was based on a 1957 novel by screenwriter Frederick Kohner, about his own teenage daughter, Kathy. Actress Sandra Dee played the title role. The film was followed by two sequels with different actresses, and finally by a short-lived TV series starring a young Sally Field. The name itself is a mash-up of “girl” and “midget.”
Mrs. Paul and Long John Silver in a battle to the death.
Mrs. Paul’s is a brand of packaged seafoods manufactured by Pinnacle Foods. Long John Silver’s is a chain of fast-food fish restaurants founded in 1969. It has more than 1,200 locations worldwide.
Thank you, Nair, for making this fight possible.
Nair is a brand of hair removal products made by Church & Dwight Co.
It’s more Jackie O than Jackie Chan.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, popularly known as Jackie O (1929-1994), was the wife of President John F. Kennedy. After his assassination in 1963, she married Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, a longtime family friend, in 1968. 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).
Why, it’s Max Patkin, the clown prince of baseball!
Max Patkin (1920-1999), nicknamed the Clown Prince of Baseball, was a baseball clown for more than 50 years; he had a memorable role in the 1988 baseball film Bull Durham.
Scenes cut from The Longest Day.
The Longest Day is a 1962 film about the invasion of Normandy on D-Day (see above note). It starred John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Sean Connery, among many others.
Right now, Benny Hill is smiling down from heaven.
Benny Hill (1924/25-1992) was a chubby English comedian whose skit comedy show (unimaginatively dubbed The Benny Hill Show) reigned on British television for 20 years, beginning in 1969. The series was characterized by risqué humor of the burlesque-show variety, high-speed chases, and lots of curvaceous women in skimpy bikinis.
In response to the energy crisis, Cadillac produces this new subcompact.
The 1970s saw a severe shortage of crude oil that led to skyrocketing gas prices and shortages at the pump. The first crisis was sparked by a 1973 oil embargo imposed by OPEC in retaliation for U.S. support of Israel (see above note). It was followed by a second in 1979 caused by the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. Starting in 1976, Cadillac started to introduce smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, as opposed to its 1970 Eldorado, a behemoth powered by a 400 hp V8 engine.
[Sung.] Fuzzy dice and bongos …
A reference to the Frank Zappa song “Dog Breath.” Sample lyrics: “Fuzzy dice (fuzzy dice)/My ship of love (my ship of love)/Is ready to attack …”
I’m Lyle Waggoner. May I help you?
Actor Lyle Waggoner is best known for playing Lynda Carter’s romantic interest, Major Steve Trevor, on the TV series Wonder Woman, which aired from 1976-1979.
Is that a Sears twelve-piece suit, or is it from the Johnny Carson collection?
Sears is a retailer of famously low-end clothing. Tonight Show host Johnny Carson for a time hawked his own line of clothing, including sports jackets and his trademark turtlenecks.
Welcome back to jail, Mr. Gotti.
See note on the Gambino crime family, above.
Jed! Jethro’s down in the cement pond!
Jethro Bodine was the young, dimwitted guy on The Beverly Hillbillies, which aired from 1962-1971. The part was played by Max Baer Jr. The “cement pond” was the Clampetts’ term for the swimming pool in their back yard.
Peter Lawford’s got Kristy McNichol hair.
Kristy McNichol is an actress whose career peaked in the late 1970s and early 1980s, in such films as Little Darlings (1980) and The Pirate Movie (1982). She later appeared as a regular on the TV series Empty Nest.
The Doberman Gang, in a one-man show.
The Doberman Gang is a 1972 movie about an animal trainer who trains a pack of Dobermans to rob a bank. It starred no one you’ve ever heard of.
It’s Engelbert Humperdinck! –He’s gonna sing him to sleep after the lovin’.
Engelbert Humperdinck (real name Arnold Dorsey) was a popular singer in the 1960s with such hits as “Release Me” and “There Goes My Everything.” The above lyrics are from his song “After the Loving”: “So I sing you to sleep after the loving/With a song that I wrote yesterday/And I hope that it's clear what the words/And the music have to say …”
Maybe these are his Kibbles ‘n Bits.
Kibbles ’n Bits is a brand of dog food manufactured by Heinz Pet Products.
He’s telling me to kill my parents.
David Berkowitz, better known as the serial killer Son of Sam, killed six people and shot several others in New York in 1976 and 1977. When he was apprehended, he told police that he had been ordered to commit the murders by a neighbor, with the messages relayed to him by the neighbor’s “demonic” dog, a black Labrador named Harvey.
You think Peter has any idea where he is?
According to Angels Revenge cinematographer Dean Cundley, some scenes had to be re-blocked so Peter Lawford could remain seated, because he was too drunk to stand up.
Eh, maybe one. Then the Stairmaster.
Stairmaster is a brand of exercise equipment, introduced in 1983 as a step treadmill and followed three years later by the more familiar dual-foot-pedal stair climber machine that became wildly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. The brand is currently owned by Nautilus.
And sha-la-la-la-la means I love you.
“Sha La La Means I Love You” is an old Barry White song.
Kind of an NRA voting procedure.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is a national organization dedicated to promoting gun ownership. It is a powerful lobbying organization, successfully and fiercely resisting any and all gun control measures.
A Chuck Heston kind of voting.
Charlton Heston (1923-2008) was an actor and political activist who appeared in such movies as The Ten Commandments and Planet of the Apes. He was a longtime spokesman for the National Rifle Association and was elected its president for three terms.
Pig Mania, a.k.a. Pass the Pigs, is a children’s game that involves throwing little plastic pigs like dice and assigning points based on how they land.
It’s a bad day at Tires Plus.
Tires Plus is a chain of car repair centers with nearly 600 locations nationwide. Its employees are trained to answer the phone with, “It’s a great day at Tires Plus!”
[Sung.] Drive! Driving like the demon that drives your dreams …
A line from the theme song to the TV series Hardcastle & McCormick, which aired from 1983-1986. Sample lyrics: “Drive, push it to the floor till the engines scream/Drive, driving like the demon that drives your dreams/You're on a hard road, nobody cares if you hit the brakes/You've got to think fast, keep it in gear, one slip is all it takes.”
It’s Hardcastle & McCormick!
See previous note.
[Sung.] How will I make it on my own?
Line from the theme song to the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which aired in 1970. The exact wording: “How will you make it on your own?/This world is awfully big, girl this time you’re all alone/But it’s time you started living/It’s time you let someone else do some giving.”
The Kronos Quartet live on this block!
The Kronos Quartet is a string quartet founded in 1973; it is based in San Francisco, California. The quartet is well-known for commissioning new pieces and has worked with many of the biggest names in modern music, such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich.
And Bartók, apparently.
Béla Bartók (1881-1945) was a Hungarian composer known particularly for his collection of folk songs.
I’m William Katt for Samsonite.
William Katt is an actor best known for playing the title role in the TV series The Greatest American Hero (see above note). Samsonite is a brand of luggage first introduced in the 1940s. It is named after the biblical hero Samson, in an effort to emphasize the strength and durability of the luggage.
H.I.S., by Chic.
Chic by H.I.S. is a major American jeans manufacturer founded in 1923; Chic label jeans were very popular in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Without tradition, we are like a drug dealer on the roof.
A reference to a line from the musical Fiddler on the Roof: “Without traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.”
Underalls. For men.
Underalls were combination underwear/pantyhose popular during the 1970s and 1980s.
We continue now with International Hide and Seek.
A reference to the “Olympic Hide-and-Seek” sketch on the British TV series Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Look, just take a Watchtower and read it!
The Watchtower is the official magazine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, an apocalyptic Christian sect known for proselytizing door to door.
You borrow my good tie, the Countess Mara?
Countess Mara is a brand of men’s neckties that were popular during the 1940s and 1950s.
Oh, the whole building just lost The Price Is Right!
The Price Is Right is a long-running game show (on the air since 1972) in which contestants attempt to guess the correct prices of various consumer goods.
Correctol made this jump possible.
Correctol is a brand of laxative manufactured by Schering-Plough.
Richard Farnsworth is out for justice.
Richard Farnsworth (1920-2000) was a stuntman turned actor who got his start in films as a stunt double for the likes of Roy Rogers and Gary Cooper; late in his career he turned to acting, in such films as Comes a Horseman (1978) and The Grey Fox (1982).
My Charlie Daniels T-shirt is in there!
See note on Charlie Daniels, above.
Wait a minute! This is a lot like Charlie’s Angels! –Hey, yeah!
Charlie’s Angels was a T&A series that aired from 1976-1981. It featured a revolving cast of beautiful women who worked as private eyes under the direction of the unseen “Charlie.”
Thank you, Metamucil.
Metamucil is a bulk fiber laxative that comes in powdered form; when mixed with water or juice, it acts to relieve constipation.
[Hummed.] Charlie’s Angels theme.
This is the theme song to the TV show Charlie’s Angels (see previous note).
Hal Needham’s Golddiggers are off to another adventure.
Hal Needham (1931-2013) was a Hollywood stunt coordinator, actor and director; his oeuvre includes Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run. The Golddiggers were a troupe of beautiful women who appeared on The Dean Martin Show, which aired from 1965-1974. They also appeared on a summer spinoff series, Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers (1968-1973).
“Hey, where’s April?” In Paris.
“April in Paris” is a song by Vernon Duke first performed in 1932 and most famously recorded by Count Basie in 1955. It was also the title of a 1952 movie musical starring Doris Day and Ray Bolger.
Ah, that's a pick-a-sow, isn't it?
A mispronunciation of Picasso. Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) is considered by many as the founder of modern art and one of the greatest geniuses the art world has ever known. He painted in many different styles over the course of his long career, of which the most famous is Cubism. His well-known works include a portrait of Gertrude Stein, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Still Life with Chair-Caning.
It's got a wonderful otherness to it.
"This, I think, has a kind of wonderful otherness to it, you know," is a line from the 1979 Woody Allen film Manhattan.
Sinatra won’t talk to me!
Peter Lawford, who plays Burke in Angels Revenge, was a member of the Rat Pack and for many years a good friend of crooner Frank Sinatra. But the pair had several fallings out over the years, once over actress Ava Gardner, Sinatra’s then-love interest, and a couple of times over dealings with the Kennedy family (Lawford was married to John F. Kennedy’s sister Patricia). The two broke completely after JFK stayed at Bing Crosby’s house rather than Sinatra’s on a trip to Palm Springs, California; Sinatra never spoke to Lawford again.
Ah. Snap-on. Got a lifetime guarantee, you know. Very good tools.
Snap-on, headquartered in Wisconsin, is a manufacturer of tools, in particular interchangeable socket wrenches.
It’s not my fault JFK stayed at Crosby’s house!
See previous note on Peter Lawford.
Teacher’s pet. I want to be teacher’s pet.
A line from the Doris Day song “Teacher’s Pet,” introduced in the 1958 romantic comedy film of the same name, starring Doris Day and Clark Gable. Sample lyrics: “Teacher's pet (pa dum pa dum pa dum)/I wanna be teacher's pet (pa dum pa dum)/I wanna be huddled and cuddled as close to you as I can get/That's the lesson we're guessin' you're best in …”
[Sung.] To me, with love …
“To Sir, with Love” is the theme song to the 1967 film of the same name, which starred Sidney Poitier as a schoolteacher fending off a young girl’s crush. Sample lyrics: “But how do you thank someone who has taken you from crayons to perfume?/It isn't easy, but I'll try/If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters/That would soar a thousand feet high/To Sir, with love.”
This world is awfully big, girl, this time I’m on my own.
“This world is awfully big, girl, this time you're all alone” is a line from the theme song to The Mary Tyler Moore Show (see above note).
With each glance and every little movement I know it.
Another Mary Tyler Moore moment (see previous note).
Mrs. Breaking Away.
Breaking Away is a 1979 film starring Dennis Christopher as a teenager obsessed with the Italian cycling team.
I’m on a cycling tour of North Cornwall.
A reference to the episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus called “The Cycling Tour.”
Wait here, Black Beauty!
Black Beauty is an 1877 novel by Anna Sewell, a classic of children’s literature told from the point of view of a horse.
I really think taking the 105 would be faster!
Interstate 105 is a highway in Los Angeles County that runs east from Los Angeles International Airport, ending in Norwalk.
Do you think that’s a stuntperson? –No, it’s Marni Nixon.
Marni Nixon’s singing voice has been heard in many of the major movie musicals—My Fair Lady, The King and I, and West Side Story—although she herself did not appear in them: the studios used her dubbed vocals for their telegenic but musically ungifted lead actresses.
“Damn it.” Janet.
A reference to the song “Damn It, Janet” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sample lyrics: “The river was deep but I swam it (Janet)/The future is ours so let's plan it (Janet)/So please don't tell me to can it (Janet)/I've one thing to say and that's damn it, Janet/I love you …”
Not the Hamilton Beach!
Hamilton Beach is a manufacturer of small household appliances, such as coffee makers, blenders, and toasters.
It’s the cover of the Nirvana album!
The cover of Nirvana’s 1991 smash hit album Nevermind is an underwater picture of a naked baby swimming in a pool.
But you look good in a Speedo.
Speedo is an Australian manufacturer of swimwear, specializing in swimwear for athletes. Its trademark short, tight men’s briefs were introduced at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne and quickly became popular worldwide.
It’s a wet teacher contest.
A riff on the perennial spring break and barroom entertainment known as wet T-shirt contests, in which busty gals in T-shirts are doused with water, to better evaluate their physical attributes. In the opening host segment of Show 1001, Soultaker, Crow and Tom are baffled as to why their wet T-shirt contest is so boring. Perhaps it is because the T-shirts are neatly folded in baking pans, and the competition is based on the fabric’s comparative absorbency.
Arthur Godfrey’s in trouble!
See above note on Arthur Godfrey.
They’re drowning Cousin Itt!
Cousin Itt was a character in the TV series The Addams Family, which aired from 1964-1966; Itt was completely covered in long hair and spoke in an unintelligible squeak. The part was played by little person actor Felix Silla.
Having the headquarters on Pikes Peak is kind of a pain.
Pikes Peak is a 14,000-foot mountain on the eastern edge of the Colorado Rockies, named for 19th-century explorer Zebulon Pike.
No, a lot of people say I look like Fred Willard.
Fred Willard is a comedian and character actor who has appeared in a number of TV shows and movies, most notably Everybody Loves Raymond and a string of Christopher Guest films, including This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind, and Best in Show.
Don't touch my Qiana, it'll snag.
Qiana is a shiny fabric developed by Dupont in 1968. It was used to make all those clingy disco shirts in the 1970s. (Thanks to Mike Stubbs for this reference.)
My roscoe barked chow-chow, and a slug drilled his knickers.
An imitation of the Dan Turner detective stories by Robert Leslie Bellem, a staple of the pulp magazine Spicy Detective during the 1930s and 1940s.
“Baby!” I’m-a want you!
A reference to the 1972 Bread song by the same name. Sample lyrics: “Baby, I’m-a want you/Baby, I’m-a need you/You the only one I care enough to hurt about/Maybe I’m-a crazy/But I just can't live without/Your lovin’ …”
Eat lead, Freddie Prinze!
Freddie Prinze (1954-1977) was an actor best known for his role as Chico Rodriguez on the TV series Chico and the Man (1974-1977); regrettably, he committed suicide with a handgun in 1977.
I just remembered—Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman is on.
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman was a TV series starring Jane Seymour as a female doctor in a frontier town; it ran from 1993-1998.
And Mark Spitz wins another gold medal in the jean jacket freestyle.
Mark Spitz is considered the fastest swimmer of all time. In 1972, he won seven gold medals at the Munich Olympics, setting a new record. Afterwards he went on to a lucrative, if brief, endorsement career.
Ooh, now she’s having a Sherman Oaks flashback. Because she’s from California.
Sherman Oaks is an affluent area of the city of Los Angeles, located in the San Fernando Valley.
Jim Henson! –Hi-ho!
Jim Henson (1936-1990) was a puppeteer and the creator of the Muppets, the half-puppet, half-marionette creatures who appeared on the TV shows Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Head Muppet Kermit the Frog’s catchphrase was “Hi-ho, Kermit the Frog here!”
I regret nothing!
A reference to the 1992 Simpsons episode “Itchy and Scratchy: The Movie,” which has a scene showing a long queue of people waiting to get into the movie that stretches across a drawbridge, and when the bridge opens, a man plummets to his death, screaming, “I regret nothing!”
Greg Louganis goes motorcycling.
Greg Louganis is an American diver who won gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. In 1988 he suffered an injury when his head hit the diving board, but he went on to capture the gold anyway.
Hells Angels on Wheels, starring Esther Williams.
Hells Angels on Wheels is a 1967 cult film starring Jack Nicholson as an aspiring motorcycle thug. Esther Williams is a swimmer and actress who became famous in a string of films in the 1940s and 1950s that featured elaborate aquatic musical numbers. She retired from acting in the 1960s and started a profitable line of women’s swimwear.
What’s with the Philip Glass?
Philip Glass is a minimalist composer known for his operas (Einstein on the Beach) as well as his film scores (Koyaanisqatsi, A Brief History of Time).
Say, Neo-Gothic! Really nice.
Neo-Gothic is an architectural style that began in late 18th-century England, involving lots of decorative patterns and mouldings reminiscent of medieval design. A lot of the buildings on the Yale University campus are Neo-Gothic.
Whaddaya do? Shoot the hostage.
A reference to an exchange in the 1994 action film Speed, between Jeff Daniels and Keanu Reeves:
Daniels: “All right, pop quiz. Airport, gunman with one hostage. He’s using her for cover, he’s almost to a plane. You’re a hundred feet away … Jack?”
Reeves: “Shoot the hostage.”
Lady Blue was a 1985 TV series starring Jamie Rose as a tough, Dirty Harry-style cop (in fact, the character was dubbed “Dirty Harriet” in the press). It lasted only one season.
Kelsey Grammer was supposed to meet me here.
In 1994, a 17-year-old girl accused actor Kelsey Grammer of having had sex with her when she was fifteen. She claimed the encounters took place while she was babysitting Grammer’s daughter; however, a grand jury refused to indict Grammer on the charges. Grammer’s second wife was also 15 years his junior—22 to his 37.
[Sung.] “La Marseillaise.”
“La Marseillaise” is the national anthem of France, written in 1792 by composer Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle. It became a centerpiece of the French Revolution, although it was banned by subsequent rulers and only permanently adopted as the national anthem in 1879.
Cheryl Ladd is woefully miscast in the Wilma Rudolph story.
Cheryl Ladd is a blond actress best known for playing Kris Munroe on Charlie’s Angels. Wilma Rudolph was an African-American runner who in 1960 became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field in the same Olympic Games—despite the fact that she was running on a sprained ankle. The 1977 TV movie Wilma told the story of her life, with Shirley Jo Finney playing the title role and a young Denzel Washington making his screen debut as her romantic interest.
Oh, no—he saw City Slickers II.
See above note.
By this time my lungs were aching for booze.
A take on one of the writers’ favorite catchphrases: “By this time my lungs were aching for air”—a reference to the TV show Sea Hunt, which starred Lloyd Bridges as scuba diver Mike Nelson (hey!). It aired from 1958-1961.
As Lucretia McEvil.
“Lucretia McEvil” is a song by Blood Sweat & Tears. Sample lyrics: “Lucretia McEvil, little girl, what's your game?/Hard luck and trouble bound to be your claim to fame/Tail shakin' home breakin' truckin' through town/Each and every country mother's son hangin' round/Drive a young man insane/Evil, that's your name.”
As Thank You, Mr. Eddie’s Father.
On The Courtship of Eddie’s Father (1969-1972), a sitcom about a widower struggling to raise his young son alone, Mrs. Livingston (played by Miyoshi Umeki) called widower Tom Corbitt “Mr. Eddie’s Father.”
Died in Vietnam.
When the nostalgia junket that is American Graffiti (1973) ends, an epilogue over the cast photos jarringly informs you of their fates: one killed by a drunk driver, one MIA in Nam, one an insurance agent in Modesto, and one a writer in Canada. Animal House also tells you that one of its cast (Doug Niedermeyer) is killed in Vietnam, but it’s played for laughs.
As Laraine Newman.
Laraine Newman is a comedian and actress best known for her tenure on Saturday Night Live as part of that show’s original cast, appearing from 1975-1980.
As Gregg Allman.
Gregg Allman was one of the founding members of the Allman Brothers Band, consisting of Duane and Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, and Jaimoe. The band released several blues-rock albums in the early 1970s.
As J. Edgar Hoover.
J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) was the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death. Focusing on anti-communism after World War II, he virtually ignored the Mafia until the mid-1950s. He was known for his loathing of “subversives” of any stripe and launched notorious investigations of Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lennon. He was criticized for turning the FBI into a secret police force, amassing information that allowed him to intimidate sitting presidents. However, he also built the FBI into a professional, modernized, and effective crime-fighting 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.
Ah, the ‘70s. Well, I think they were developed by Robert Stigwood.
Robert Stigwood is a producer who was behind some of the most successful entertainment acts and films of the 1970s, including Cream, the Bee Gees, Jesus Christ Superstar, and of course Saturday Night Fever.
Actually, I think the ‘70s were made up by either England Dan or John Ford Coley, I’m not sure which.
England Dan & John Ford Coley were a pop-rock duo in the 1970s whose biggest hit was 1976’s “I’d Really Love to See You Tonight.”
Look, Cody Palance! He’s Jack Palance’s tough, street-smart, wisecracking, crime-fighting son!
Cody Palance, who plays one of the beach thugs, is in fact Jack Palance's son. They acted together again, under considerably classier circumstances, in the Brat Packy western Young Guns. Unfortunately, Cody died quite young, at the age of only 42, of malignant melanoma.
Now, isn’t Can’t Stop the Music with the Village People tied up with the ‘70s somehow? –Yes, but don’t diminish the importance of Nancy Walker.
Can’t Stop the Music is a 1980 film directed by Nancy “The Quicker Picker Upper” Walker; it starred the disco group the Village People in a pseudo-biography of the band. It was universally panned and was a box office flop.
Hey, I know who was important during the ‘70s—the Eagles.
The Eagles were a rock band formed in the early 1970s that had a string of massively popular hits during that decade, including “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” “Take It Easy,” and “Hotel California.” They are considered one of the seminal American rock bands of the 1970s.
For some reason, when I think of the ‘70s, I think of Melanie.
Melanie Safka, who uses only her first name professionally, was a singer/songwriter whose hits during the 1970s included “Lay Down (Candles in the Rain)” and “Brand New Key.”
I do too! You know—“Brand New Key,” “Lay Down Lay Down,” candles at her concerts …
See previous note. The comment about candles at her concerts comes from an incident at Woodstock when audience members lit candles during her performance, the inspiration for her song “Lay Down.”
No, no, no—I was going to say Melanie Chartoff. Fridays spoke to a whole generation, man.
Melanie Chartoff is an actress and comedian who appeared on the TV series Fridays (ABC’s attempt at a Saturday Night Live-style sketch show) and Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.
When you talk about the ‘70s, you can’t forget about the scandal that rocked the decade. You know what I’m talking about, right? –Of course! When Abe Vigoda left Barney Miller to star on Fish, right? I never got over that.
Character actor Abe Vigoda (1921-2016) played Detective Phil Fish on the successful sitcom Barney Miller (1974-1979). The network tried to turn the character’s popularity into a spinoff, the short-lived Fish, in 1977.
That’s not what I’m talking about. I was thinking of Watergate. Watergate? –Well, what the hell did Abe Vigoda have to do with Watergate?
In June 1972, five men were arrested breaking into the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. The widening spiral of investigation that followed led to the indictments of a number of White House aides, and it eventually became clear that President Richard M. Nixon had been involved in the attempt to cover up the White House’s involvement in the Watergate plot. He resigned in order to avoid certain impeachment by the House of Representatives. See previous note on Abe Vigoda.
Hey, remember when everybody had this poster here, except that it was only one of them, and it was Farrah Fawcett? Remember that?
Farrah Fawcett (1947-2009) was a blond actress best known for playing Jill Munroe on Charlie’s Angels; an iconic poster of her posing in a swimsuit graced many a teenage boy’s bedroom during the 1970s.
Hey, where was Bruce Jenner in this movie? –He’s the one on the left.
Bruce Jenner was a track star who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1976 Olympics. He later became famous as a spokesperson for Wheaties cereal. He also had a mercifully short-lived acting career, most notably in a six-episode stint on CHiPs in 1981. In 2015 he came out as a transgender woman and changed names to Caitlyn Jenner.
[Sung.] Boogie oogie oogie, get down …
A line from “Boogie Oogie Oogie” by A Taste of Honey, which hit number one in 1978.