309. “I’ve got some clotted cream in the car.”

The episode:The Projected Man,” ep. 901

The riff: Said slyly by Mike as one British scientist casts a sideways glance at one another while they watch their experiment explode in front of them.

The explanation: Clotted cream is a type of dairy product made by indirectly heating cow’s milk and skimming off the “clots” of cream that form on the surface. It is eaten in a variety of ways but is especially important in Britain as a part of a traditional “cream tea.” That isn’t tea with cream in it, but rather a teatime set-up that includes tea and scones, which are then spread with clotted cream and fruit jams or preserves. Naturally, the British disagree strongly on which preserves are correct to use.

Novelty factor: I can’t say I’ve ever heard of clotted cream in my life, but I find myself wondering now what it tastes like.

294. “Come on, Quaker Oats for you, it’s the right thing to do.”

The episode:The Killer Shrews,” ep. 407

The riff: Opined by Joel as an old guy with a mustache cheerily leads a couple of young boys off screen.

The explanation: Joel is impersonating actor Wilford Brimley, who appeared in a bunch of commercials for Quaker Oatmeal in the 1980s. “It’s the right thing to do” was actually a slogan, perhaps the first time I’ve ever heard of a moral imperative as far as breakfast is concerned. They made a ton of these commercials.

Novelty factor: I don’t remember this ad campaign, but I find its insistence on oatmeal-eating to be a little unsettling.

255. “Kay’s worked on the kill floor, she knows where to deliver the blow.”

The episode:What to Do on a Date,” the short in front of “Swamp Diamonds,” ep. 503

The riff: Intoned in an old-timer voice by Joel as the innocuous girl in this dating tutorial picks up a hammer to nail up a sign.

The explanation: This is indeed a dark riff. It refers to the old days of slaughterhouses, where it was traditional to use a specially devised hammer to knock cattle or pigs unconscious before slaughter. Workers had to be skilled with the hammer in an attempt to keep things as humane as possible. Today, animals are typically stunned via electric current or pneumatic pistol before they are killed.

Novelty factor: I knew what they were referring to, but reading about these things took me down a more grisly path than I was hoping. I don’t recommend it, if you want to keep enjoying your steaks.

NOTE: I’m not sure there are any appropriate visuals for this riff, so I’m leaving it blank.

253. “Commando Cody learns that Graber and Daly are on Clark Mountain. They go after them through Zagnut Valley.”

The episode:Commando Cody pt. 7,” one of two Cody serials before “Project Moonbase,” ep. 109

The riff: Spoken by Tom while the serial’s opening narration is displayed on screen. The reference to Clark Mountain is genuine, but the rest is obscured by the theater seats, so he adds the bit about “Zagnut Valley.”

The explanation: The reference to Clark Mountain made Tom think of the D.L. Clark Company, once one of America’s great makers of candy bars. As previously mentioned here many months back, they were the makers of the Clark Bar, a chocolate and peanut butter candy bar. They also made Zagnut, a similar candy bar that instead had the chocolate replaced with a coconut exterior. Zagnut is still manufactured today by Hershey.

Novelty factor: I’ve never had a Zagnut bar before (I don’t like coconut), but I did recognize the name. Check out this great commercial that pokes fun at the strange Zagnut name.

249. “I’d like a sloe gin circus.”

The episode:Circus on Ice,” the short in front of “Monster a Go-Go,” ep. 421

The riff: Pined-for by Joel as we see the title card for “Circus on Ice.”

The explanation: Sloe gin is a gin variant that isn’t terribly well known in the United States, because it originates from Britain, the land of gin. It is made with fruit–specifically, the “drupes” of the blackthorn plant, which are soaked in gin to produce a red, fruit-flavored spirit that is then used in a variety of cocktails.

Novelty factor: I’ve never actually had sloe gin before, but I’ve read about it on a number of occasions after being confused by the pronunciation, thinking someone was talking about “slow” gin.

Note: I enjoy this video because the British woman says it’s a “bit of a nartch” to pick the berries. I have no idea what this means.

248. “Something new is coming to town and George the milkman is bringing it ’round.”

The episode:Commando Cody pt. 6,” the short in front of “The Slime People,” ep. 108

The riff: Sung in a bouncy voice by Joel as an old jalopy swings around the corner and zooms past the camera.

The explanation: Joel is singing a snatch from a late 1970s commercial for breakfast cereal, Kellogg’s Graham Crackos. In the commercial, George the milkman would literally bring Graham Crackos to someone’s door along with the milk. As for the cereal, they were obviously flavored like graham crackers. I wonder how similar they would have been to today’s Golden Grahams. We’ll never know, because the brand is long gone.

Novelty factor: No idea at all, but I guessed that it would be from a commercial due to their fondness for them.

215. “We will sell no wine before its time.”

The episode:The Indestructible Man,” ep. 409

The riff: Intoned by Joel in a deep voice as a drip-bag is set up on an IV and slowly drains into the Frankenstein-type creature being constructed by a mad scientist.

The explanation: They’re referring to a well-known series of ads from the 1970s for the California wineries of Paul Masson, an early proponent of California’s wine industry. “We will sell no wine before its time” was the company’s slogan, and the delivery in the commercial is in the style of Orson Welles, who was on-air face of those ads. As with many things involving late-career Welles, there’s a sad twist, as the formerly great director was apparently drunk on the product all the time when he was on set. An outtake even exists where a severely inebriated Welles tries to read his lines.

Novelty factor: Never heard the slogan before, but I’m not surprised at all about the Welles connection. Watching those outtakes made me very sad.

214. “Here comes the king, here comes the big number one.”

The episode:Hercules Unchained,” ep. 408

The riff: Sung by Joel, Tom and Crow simultaneously as Hercules and co. rumble by on a dirt road in their Oregon Trail-looking Conestoga Wagon.

The explanation: The tune and the lyrics are actually from a series of 1970s Budweiser commercials that first featured the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. As mentioned in the rest of the tune, “When you say Bud, you’ve said it all.”

Novelty factor: I’m a little surprised to not know this one, given my general beer-related knowledge.

210. “Look, you call it corn, I call it maize, we’ll never get along.”

The episode:The Puma Man,” ep. 903

The riff: Added by Tom as the wimpy Puma Man (a white guy who for some reason has Aztec god powers) trails after his Indian protector, Vadinho.

The explanation: At first glance it appears to be just a reference to the Indian term “maize” for corn, but if you look up the phrasing, it’s actually a much more direct reference to an old television advertisement. Marzola Margarine was the product, and its ad campaign featured native Americans expounding on the virtues of “maize” and margarine made from it. “We knew all about the goodness of corn before America was America,” the comely Indian lady in the commercial says. “Mazola tastes fresh and good,” she adds.

Novelty factor: Never heard of the product, but this is one cheesy commercial.

209. “Tom and Jerry, ma’am?”

The episode:The Deadly Mantis,” ep. 804

The riff: Asked politely by Crow as a doofus officer offers the one woman in the movie a cup of coffee to stave off the arctic winter.

The explanation: The Tom and Jerry is actually a form of holiday cocktail in the Midwestern United States, particularly Wisconsin and Minnesota. It was invented by British Pierce Egan way back in the 1820s, so the name refers not to the MGM cartoon characters or even to famous mixologist Jerry Thomas. The cocktail is essentially heated eggnog with rum or brandy and nutmeg, served in a mug. Presumably, it’s the kind of cocktail you might drink if you were stationed at the north pole like the people in this movie.

Novelty factor: I’m actually kind of surprised that I don’t know this one. I wasn’t sure what the riff was going to be a reference to, but I wasn’t expecting a cocktail. I guess this one is pretty regional. Stupid Minnesota and Wisconsin, with their own languages.