Friday, December 29, 2006

Memes to Me - "Please, stop the monkeys!"

Addendum 2016: Linda J. Alexander, biographer of Steve Ihnat, dropped by this post recently to note that even in 2006 my memory was fuzzy. It was frequent '60's TV guest star Ihnat who played the brainwashed race car driver in Hunter and shouted the "stop the monkeys" line. I stand corrected, as I did the time I mixed up the release years on It's A Wonderful Life.

I didn't realize one of my favorite obscure movie lines is pretty much a meme.

"Stop the monkeys!" is one of those cool phrases that seems to fit any situation where you want to cry out against the insanity.

Five projects get turned in at once, all with the same deadline?

"Stop the monkeys."

Bad things happen one after another?

"Please, stop the monkeys!"

Someone says "All your base belongs to us" again.

"Stop the monkeys."

They remake Superman The Movie and call it a new movie: Superman Returns!

"Stop the monkeys! Stop the monkeys."

Despite its multiplicity of uses, I didn't realize it was in as wide a use as "Needs more cowbell," but that would seem to be the case. It says so on Wikipedia, at least, in the entry on the TV movie from which it's taken. I discovered that fact the other day in my relentless quest to gain knowledge and reduce boredom.

The movie, which yeah, I saw as a kid and remember, would be Hunter starring the late character actor John Vernon as a brainwashed race car driver who's driven mad by the suggestion that he's being assailed by flying monkeys from The Wizard of Oz.

So of course he says: "Please, stop the monkeys!"

I always found the flying monkeys roughly as terrifying as the Gargoyles from another CBS-TV Movie, so if I were being assailed by real or imaginary flying monkeys I'd want them to stop.

As we face the new year, it's always good to have a goal. Mine will be to help further perpetuate the use of phrase "Stop the monkeys" in 2007.

If you have a blog, please apply when appropriate, and by all means use it as a minced oath in polite company.

It's a little softer than some other John Vernon lines, such as the also frequently apopos but less socially acceptable: "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining," from The Outlaw Josey Wales.


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

OK, now explain "needs more cowbell." Or is that Tylerogriphics for the same phrase as the monkey one. I like yout Outlaw Josey Wales line, but I think I might just start off 2007 by standing on my front stoop and screaming ATTICA! ATTICA! ATTICA!

Sidney said...

Hmmm, I guess the "cowbell" reference isn't quite as, uh, universal as I thought.

It's from a Saturday Night Live skit with Christopher Walken as a music producer at the recording of Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper."

He keeps telling the band things like: "You're gonna want that cowbell!" and "I have a fever and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL!"

It gets explained best in a Wikipedia article and is also discussed at this URL:

Charles Gramlich said...

Gargoyles. Now why don't they show this movie on TV more often. Love it. I've got to buy this one. I didn't know the "cowbell" reference until I saw the skit about a year ago.

Sidney said...

Yeah, you pretty much have to rent Gargoyles. Maybe I need to do a post on the "lost" Movie of the Week Horrors besides Kolchak.

Linda J. Alexander said...

Nice post but you seem to have your actors confused. Steve Ihnat was actually the one being brainwashed with The Wizard of Oz flying monkeys. He was the one who said the line, "Please stop the monkeys!" I'm writing Ihnat's bio: "Anatomy of a Rising Star Steve Ihnat ~ Gone Too Soon."


Sidney said...

Probably a transposition in my memory. Wish the film was more widely available.

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