330. “He’s won the Irving Thalberg award!”

The episode:Danger! Death Ray,” ep. 620

The riff: Gaped by Mike as a spy’s boss compliments him and says “You deserve a special prize for your work.”

The explanation: Irving Thalberg was the co-creator of the movie studio MGM and was one of history’s most storied and successful film producers. Known as “The Boy Wonder” for his great success at a young age, he passed away at only 37 years old from pneumonia. The Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Awards were established and are awarded sporadically at the Governors Awards ceremony to¬†“Creative producers, whose bodies of work reflect a consistently high quality of motion picture production.” The most recent recipient was director Francis Ford Coppola in 2010.

Novelty factor: My film education taught me who Thalberg was, but I actually haven’t heard of the award before.


136. “I think Hal David wrote the lyrics.”

The episode:Danger! Death Ray,” ep. 620

The riff: Remarked by Crow during the extremely repetitive music that plays during the opening credits. The only words are “bah da da da da daaaahhh.”

The explanation: Hal David was a prolific songwriter of both pop music and movie soundtracks, along with his longtime collaborator Burt Bacharach, the more famous “name” of the songwriting team. Together, they produced hits like “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” and “What the World Needs Now is Love.” He also worked on movies like the James Bond series and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” As for why they’re making the reference to him, I’m thinking this one is just straight-up sarcasm, given David’s real-world credentials and accomplishments. He was awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song by the Library of Congress in 2011 and passed away in the fall of 2012.

Novelty factor: I’ve certainly heard his work of course, but I had never heard of Hal David before. Somehow, it does not surprise me that several of these cheesy love songs were written by the same guy.