35 Comments

  1. Sure, used to be a famous actor, now in retirement in France and spends his days contributing comments to comics elucidations blogs. 😺

    BTW I have been to the dentist several times recently (finally got the crown on the implant!) and see the many viral safety provisions they follow under ADA guidance.
    Including filling out a form marked “ADA Questionnaire” in case you wondered who says I have to fill out this form again and again….

  2. The geezer reference is from that great dental hygiene scene in Marathon Man (1976). A real geezer dentist will ask “Is it safe?”

    As for the CIDU, notice that in the last panel the passersby are not wearing masks, thus endangering all around them. Hard to tie that to a dentist appointment, though.

  3. Well, I’m a geezer, but any reference to a Laurence Olivier role is too old for me to catch. Okay, I saw Mike’s comment; I didn’t realize he was still acting that late.

    As for the CIDU, she’s worried about the other patients she’ll come near. The unmasked randoms in the last panel are there to show that concern. The wait staff is masked, but the other patrons are idiots.

  4. Marathon Man was mostly remembered solely because of Olivier’s evil dentist scene- many people claimed that is why the refused to have their teeth checked.

    Be that as it may, I think the general public’s awareness of that movie (and that scene) has faded from memory and is know a true geezer reference.

  5. I understand the comic (as explained by Arthur), but not panel 2. I’m in my forties. Not sure if we ever established what constitutes “geezer.”

  6. @ chemgal – Geezerhood doesn’t have a fixed boundary, it just refers to certain stuff that only older people are expected to remember (irregardless of their potential to have Alzheimer’s). Mike nailed the geezer reference @2, but the proof is buried in the synopsis of “Marathon Man“. It’s rather too much work for not enough humor.

  7. Does it count as a geezer reference if its *intended* to be a geezer reference and if it is not pivotal in the overall joke or story.

    “it just refers to certain stuff that only older people are expected to remember ”

    Question 2) is it a geezer reference if the audience is *not* expected to remember and the author knows darned well and is actually relying upon people *not* getting the reference.

  8. Never saw the movie, but I do very much remember reading the Mad Magazine parody of it at the time. Detailed enough that I was able to get the reference. Mad sure helped me with my movie trivia knowledge without having to sit through a lot of (perhaps not the most kid-enjoyable) flicks. I still have never seen “Being There”, “Breaking Away”, “Ordinary People”, Kramer vs Kramer”, or “Willard”, but have the magazine plots burned into my brain.

  9. I too liked Mad parodies, usually drawn by Mort Drucker, who died this year. The Editing Room site provides a similar precising service, though without pictures, skewering the movies and often telling much of the story economically as well. It’s rather more scatological than Mad was.

    Laurence Olivier, though ill in later years, carried on acting from time to time a lot later than 1976. He appeared in Derek Jarman’s War Requiem, filmed in 1988 and released in 1989, the year of Olivier’s death. He also played Lear in King Lear on TV in 1983, alongside people like John Hurt, Diana Rigg and Brian Cox. Wikipedia quotes an American critic: “we have seen the last Shakespearean hero Laurence Olivier will ever play. But what a finale! In this most sublime of plays, our greatest actor has given an indelible performance. Perhaps it would be most appropriate to express simple gratitude.”

  10. But I read the Mad parody of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” decades before seeing the movie. Unfortunately, I still remembered the spoiler.

  11. “But I read the Mad parody of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” decades before seeing the movie. Unfortunately, I still remembered the spoiler.”

    “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” has a spoiler? No, don’t tell me. (I really really *really* hate even the most minor of plot points being spoiled) But it never occurred to me it was the type of drama that was supposed to have plot twists.

  12. Well, sort-of twist. There is a secret, or a pretense. And when it gets revealed between the characters it is also revealed to the audience.

  13. 1958fury, I find that listening to a song wipes away the earworm (which of course is a lot easier now than, say, 30 years ago). Does it work that way for everybody?

  14. CIDU Bill: Well, I suspect you’re not the only one who experiences that. It’s a small world, after all.

  15. For me, listening to a song doesn’t remove it as an earworm. Filking it usually does, even though that requires me to listen to it several times.

  16. I went to the dentist office about a week ago. They were only using 1 of the 2 adjoining rooms. Between patients, they would wipe the room down, fumigate and run this UV-C.. I’ll call it a an LED light bomb. (Asking what that thing was got me the clean-up details.) The ritual takes about 45 minutes so they can only serve half (or less) the number of patients they used to handle. I did feel safer than in the supermarket during the early at-risk age hour.

  17. “I find that listening to a song wipes away the earworm (which of course is a lot easier now than, say, 30 years ago). Does it work that way for everybody?”

    What? Not in the least. That *always* makes the earworm worse. Always.

  18. Arthur – We watched a movie with him a couple of nights ago – “The Beggars Opera” (a play from the 18th century and no, he did make the movie back then). His movies are on TV all the time. The last movie he made was apparently made in 1989. He used to be on the talk shows in the 1960s and 70s.

  19. One of my late clients was one of the booths in “Marathon Man” in the jewelry exchange – yes he was paid for the seconds long shot of him working in his booth. In one of the driving scenes in the East 80s he rides past another client’s jewelry store and apartment (two separate places on the same street).

    In NYC most places sooner or later show up in a movie I guess.

  20. Sometimes it works for me, sometimes not. But I don’t need much of an excuse to watch LSoH again, it’s my favorite musical.

  21. I would have understood panel 2 if they referenced Marathon Man, but since Laurence Olivier is famous for a lot of different roles, I didn’t make the association. It would have been pretty easy for them to make the association clearer.

    Which brings me to a complaint that I (and others) have made about the references in B&C. It’s clear that the process isn’t “I’ve come up with a pretty good joke, but it involves a reference that many people won’t get. Well, I’ll make it anyway for those who will get it, because the joke is good,” but rather “How can I work an obscure reference in here, and make it difficult enough that I can feel smug that not everyone gets it.”

  22. Trigger warning: Earworms ahead
    Trigger warning: Earworms ahead
    Trigger warning: Earworms ahead

    To the tune of The Inchworm by Frank Loesser

    (Chorus)
    Who Let the Dogs Out?
    Little Drummer Boy
    You Deserve a Break To-
    Day It’s a Small World, Macarena

    Earworm, earworm
    Bent on mental dominance
    When I try to get rid of your influence I can’t.

    Earworm, earworm
    Bent on mental dominance
    I’m in pain and all my brains, you’re trying to supplant.

    (Chorus)

    Lyrics copyright 2005 by Arthur Tansky. License granted for
    archiving and for performance as long as:
    1. copyright notice is maintained, and
    2. no money changes hands.

  23. Is this part —

    Who Let the Dogs Out?
    Little Drummer Boy
    You Deserve a Break To-
    Day It’s a Small World, Macarena

    — supposed to be on the melody of the “2 and 2 is 4, 4 and 4 is 8, 8 and 8 is 16, 16 and 16 is 32” part in the original? I have a hard time matching it to anything.

    But it’s fairly easy to match this —

    Bent on mental dominance
    I’m in pain and all my brains, you’re trying to supplant.

    — to “You and your arithmetic, will certainly go far”

    This has always seemed to me such a sweet charming song! Even though my childhood exposure to it was with Danny Kaye singing.

  24. a) I have an AARP card and have for several years, and I didn’t get it – I’ve never so much as heard of the movie, let alone the dentist scene in it. Note that I’ve never been much for movies – I doubt I’ve seen more than a hundred in my life, including on tape/DVD.
    b) The two cures for an earworm that work for me are either singing it all the way through (the stickiest songs are the ones where I only know a few lines and they go round and round and…) or singing something else. The two I use most are Small World and Doe, A Deer – in both cases I know them well enough to actually sing all of it and bring it to a finish, and it’s sticky enough to wipe out most (not all) earworms.

  25. Mitch4:

    I’ve been a geek since very young. When we were taught this song in grade school, it came across to me as anti-intellectual.

    As for the scansion, except for the accent in macarena, I think it’s okay. The following would be best in a fixed-pitch font:
    TWO and TWO are FOUR
    WHO let THE dogs OUT?

    FOUR and FOUR are EIGHT
    LIT tle DRUM mer BOY

    EIGHT and EIGHT are SIX teen
    YOU de SERVE a BREAK to-

    SIX teen and SIX teen are THIR ty two
    DAY it’s a SMALL world ma CAR en a

  26. Thanks for laying that out!

    Part of the appeal of the original for me was right in that series of powers of two. Where else were you going to find that in song? I don’t know if I immediately made the connection that it’s an INCH worm and on a conventional foot-long ruler the inches are divided that way, down to 1/16 or even if very fine-ruled markings, 1/32.

    (Let’s not look too closely into whether 19th Century Denmark was on metric!)

    I did at various times have solid triangle-crosssection rulers, with a scale along both sides of each edge, for six altogether. Besides centimeter-and-millimeter, and inches with 1/2, 1/4, 1/8. 1/16 and maybe 1/32, there was also one in inches with tenths!

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