The version of the movie analyzed here is the extended
version from the 2001 DVD release.
Jamie Lee Curtis played Buckaroo's mother in the (previously
deleted) extended scene of the 1954 jet car test.
The OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER seems to always spelled in all
capital letters in the novelization, subtitles, and
literature from the Banzai Institute. Perhaps it signifies
the entire name is really a very long acronym?
Notice that the original Buckaroo Banzai movie logo has a
representation of the Jet Car within the sun symbol in the
The declassified footage at the beginning of the film is
narrated by Rawhide.
Dr. Masado Banzai was the preeminent Japanese quantum
Buckaroo's mother is Dr. Sandra Banzai. She is an expert in
negative-mass propulsion. (The personal profile of Dr.
Hikita on the DVD reveals that her maiden name was
Rawhide's narrative mentions electromagnetic particle
acceleration. This is a true area of research in science.
The matrix of numbers on the concrete wall at the 1954 test
site appears to be a matrix of the MATLAB (matrix
laboratory) programming language, which can crunch numbers
in multi-dimensional arrays.
Rawhide's narrative states that Dr. Akita assembled a crack
team of scientists at the Texas School of Mines. The full
name of this school when it opened in 1914 was the Texas
School of Mines and Metallurgy. Since 1967, is has been
University of Texas at El Paso.
Rawhide's narrative mentions that "the fastest man alive",
British race car driver George Campbell, was in the jet car
with Dr. Banzai when it exploded. Campbell is a fictitious
character. (In the comic book adaptation he is called Sir
The flag emblem on the tailfin of the 1954 jet car is that
of the Republic of Texas from approximately 1835-1839.
The ambulance at 4:08 on the DVD indicates that Buckaroo's
test site for the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER is near Bullhead
City, Arizona. But the novelization states that it's the
same test site at which Dr. Banzai, Sr. lost his life 30
years earlier, which was in Texas. Since Texas is a central
point throughout Buckaroo's life, it does seem more likely
that Texas is the location of the test site; my first guess
was that the
scene was shot in the Arizona desert and that
is why we see a Bullhead City ambulance strangely out of
place (then again, in the BB universe a lot of things are
intentionally strangely out of place!). But the DVD extras
reveal the Jet Car test scenes were shot at El Mirage Dry
Lake in Adelanto, CA and Rabbit Dry Lake in Lucerne Valley,
The modern Jet Car appears to be built on an early
1980's-model Ford F-350 pickup chassis. (The Jet Car
All-Access extra on the DVD reveals that it is a 1982
Various brand logos associated with auto parts are seen on
the side of the Jet Car, presumably corporate sponsors of
is a manufacturer of automobile shocks and struts.
BFGoodrich is a brand of tires made by
Bell Automotive manufactures niche automobile parts.
The various names of brain veins prattled off by the nervous
Dr. Zwigel during the surgery with Buckaroo are all real
parts of the human brain.
At 7:20 on the DVD, there is a photo taped to the Jet Car
dashboard of Buckaroo's mother holding him as a boy in her
arms. It appears to be a photo taken on the day his father
died in the original jet car explosion. A picture of his
father is visible at 8:18.
At 8:21 on the DVD, the Jet Car is seen to have a
personalized New Jersey license plate reading: ROCKIT 88.
This is a play on an Oldsmobile model called the 88,
produced 1949-1999, with different nomenclature preceding it
throughout the years, "Rocket" being used 1949-1956. The
"88" may also play on the number's resemblance to
the mirrored double-B symbol of
Later in the film, at Artie's Artery, the Hong
Kong Cavaliers play an instrumental version of
the 1951 rock and roll song "Rocket 88" recorded by both Ike
Turner and Bill Haley and the Saddlemen that year.
track of the Cavaliers was actually laid down by Billy Vera
and the Beaters; Billy Vera plays Pinky Carruthers in the
Notice that at 11:34 on the DVD, after penetrating the
mountain and passing through the 8th dimension, something
makes Buckaroo's helmet split in half and fall in two pieces
from his head. Right afterward, the windshield of the Jet
Car now has a couple of cracks in it as it passes through
the 8th dimension (according to the novel, the windshield
was two inches thick). Then, when Banzai emerges from the
mountain and examines the exterior of the vehicle, he finds
a strange goopy substance on the windshield. All of these
effects are implied to have been caused by the impact of the
8th-dimensional life form which is found to have attached itself to the
underside of the vehicle.
As Buckaroo slides under the Jet Car to find the small life
form attached to it at 13:56 on the DVD, notice that he
appears to be sliding across a cracked concrete surface, not
the desert dirt the vehicle is supposed to be currently
At 14:38 on the DVD, there appears to be a can of
beer on Lizardo's nightstand. It seems odd that he would be
allowed any kind of alcoholic beverage in a mental institution. Also
seen is a pile of books around his bed, most of them too
blurry to make out the authors or titles; one of them
appears to be The Fires of Spring by James A.
Michener. At 15:05, a painting which appears to be based on
Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper (but different)
is visible in the background on the wall of Lizardo's room.
(In the audio commentary with director W.D. Richter and
Reno, Reno explains that the figures in the painting have
been replaced with Lectroids.)
17:46, a copy of
magazine is seen on an end table. On Lizardo's bed, there is
a red pillow in the octagonal shape of a stop-sign with the
word GO on it. At 18:11, the novel The China Card
by Donald Freed is seen on a stack of books.
There are many words and sentences scribbled on the walls of
Lizardo's room, most of them too distant to make out. At
15:12 on the DVD, the words "IL DUCE" can be read over his
right shoulder. "Il Duce" is essentially Italian for "the
Duke" and may be Lizardo referencing himself (as John
Bigboote) as the ruler of
At 15:17, the television commentator speaks of Lizardo's own
brush with the 8th dimension, and reveals it was in 1938.
At 15:48 on the DVD, we see some kind of electrical
measuring device with a Weston brand label in Lizardo's 1938
lab. Weston Electrical Instrument Company produced a number
of such devices from the late 1800s to around the middle of
the 20th Century.
At 18:44 on the DVD, we can see a number of small
photographs of people glued to the wall of Lizardo's room in a
pyramid shape. The top photo is labeled "ME" and the rest are
labeled as "EVERYONE ELSE". (In the audio commentary with director
W.D. Richter, he explains that it is the hierarchical structure of
Whorfin's people on Earth.)
|18:44 on the DVD
||From the Photo
Gallery extra on the DVD
Dr. Lizardo/John Whorfin seems to have quite a junk food
fetish. Junk food packages are seen all over his room. At
18:52 a number of
Madison Zingers packages and
Little Debbie snack cakes packages are seen. (The
novelization reveals that many of the Lectroids who were
stuck on Earth for 50 years became addicted to junk food
such as this and began to eat it exclusively, rather than
their normal carnivorous diet; luckily for humanity, the
junk food made them more lethargic soldiers.)
As the Cavaliers are prepping for their gig at Artie's, there is a
"Facts about VD" poster hanging in the background.
One of the saxophone players for the Cavaliers is playing two saxes
At 24:29 on the DVD,
Penny has a book called Future History sitting in
front of her on her table at Artie's Artery. We see it again
at the table at the news conference at 35:06.
(The comic book adaptation reveals that the book was written
by Buckaroo and Dr. Hikita.)
Penny states that her sadness is due to having drank too
much Vat 69. Vat 69 is a blended Scotch made by William
Sanderson & Son Limited of Scotland.
The song Buckaroo sings for Penny is "Since I Don't Have
You", originally recorded in 1958 by the Skyliners.
At 26:11 on the DVD, one of the patients at the mental hospital is
playing a Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers video
The newspaper article at 26:34 on the DVD tells us that Artie's
Artery is located in New Jersey.
At 27:12 on the DVD, Rawhide tells us that the mental
institution Lizardo broke out of was the Trenton Home for
the Criminally Insane. (In Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts
subtitle track on the DVD, Pinky calls it the New Brunswick
Home for the Criminally Insane; the comic book adaptation
confirms it as the Trenton Home; both cities are in New
At 27:46 on the DVD,
on the Cavaliers' bus,
there appears to be a soda vending machine at the left of
the screen and a snack machine on the right.
At 28:04 on the DVD, New Jersey is manipulating the dial of
a Sony boombox.
is a real world manufacturer of home electronics, based in
New Jersey states that he is from Fort Lee, NJ. Fort Lee is
a real city in New Jersey, formed in 1904 and is considered
the birthplace of American motion pictures, producing films
for about two decades before the industry largely moved to
Hollywood, CA (though film and television is still an
important part of the city's economy). This lends some
weight to Pinky Carruther's Unknown Fact that the costume
worn by New Jersey once belonged to his grandfather, a
famous silent movie star.
Buckaroo comments to Penny that she reminds him of someone
he once knew (Peggy) whom he calls "Queen of the
Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle track on the
DVD reveals that Buckaroo was present
for the marriage of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1966
and struck by her beauty at the time.
Penny mentions that she is from Laramie, Wyoming, but was
born in Cody, Wyoming. These are both actual cities in that
state. If Penny and Peggy are truly twins, then Peggy must
also have been born in Cody.
At 31:59 on the DVD, notice there's a crude model of the Jet
Car in front of Perfect Tommy at the news conference.
Trying to regain contact with the President, Buckaroo asks
to be connected to the President's room at
Walter Reed Hospital (now known as
Walter Reed Army Medical Center). (The deleted scenes on the DVD
reveal that the President's last name
is Widmark; the real world President of the United States at
the time was Ronald Reagan.)
At 36:33 on the DVD, we see a poster for Harley-Davidson
motorcycles on the wall. This goes back to the comment by
the Secretary of Defense during the news conference that a
motorcycle convention was about to take over the convention
center. The convention's display of motorcycles is also how
Buckaroo is able to borrow a Harley to give chase to the
The case that holds the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER also
appears to be a charging unit for the device.
At 37:38 on the DVD, their are milk crates from Carnation in
the basement level of the convention center. Carnation is a
brand name of dairy products in the U.S., currently owned by
Even though they're supposed to be out in the middle of the
woods, at 39:01 on the DVD there appears to be a chain link
fence and a small building in the background behind the hunters.
At 39:05 on the DVD, the Lectroid on the left is sucking on
the wire leads from a 6-volt battery! It appears to be
Eveready brand. Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle
track on the DVD states that electrical stimulation is
pleasurable to the Lectroids. (In the novel, when offered a hit from
the battery, John Bigboote declines, saying, "I'm trying to
The two hunters discover that the
dead Lectroid was carrying a copy of
the first issue of Buckaroo Banzai
from Marvel Comics. Pinky
Carruther's Unknown Facts tells us
that this issue was the adaptation
of an adventure titled "The Strange
Case of Mr. Cigars"; this was
the title of an early draft of Rauch's movie script. The cover shown
was a mock-up; there was no similar
cover on the #1 issue (Marvel
published only a two-issue limited
series adapting the movie). Possibly
the man's face depicted on the cover
is that of Hanoi Xan. (The extras on
the DVD reveal the cover was drawn by Mike Kaluta.)
From 43:30-43:48 on the DVD, John O'Connor (actor Vincent
Schiavelli) is smoking a very strange-looking pipe!
At 45:01 on the DVD, young Blue Blaze Irregular Scooter
Lindley has a number of Team Banzai-related posters and
pictures on his wall, as well as a giant
Levi's brown label and a
For some reason, there are a number of grapefruits sitting
around the offices of the Banzai Institute, e.g. 49:59 on
"Yoyodyne" is the name of several fictional and real world
companies. It was first used in Thomas Pynchon's 1963 novel
V., and then in his 1966 novel The Crying of
Lot 49, as the name of a defense contractor, just as it
is in the Banzai universe. The name "Yoyodyne
Propulsion Systems" was later used in several episodes of
the Next Generation era Star Trek
Below are some of the 100 or so Johns who worked for
Yoyodyne in Grover's Mill, New Jersey. Not listed below is
John Parrot, John Bigboote, John Nolan, John Gomez, and John
O'Connor. Additionally, the novel lists John Icicle Boy,
John Repeat Dance, John Careful Walker, John Thorny Stick,
John Mud Head, John Take Cover, and John Ready to Fly. (Some
interesting names to note from below are: John Jones (the
Martian Manhunter from DC Comics); John Littlejohn (maybe
from the 1976 Saturday morning TV series Big John,
Little John); and John Edwards (who knew the Democrat
presidential candidate was a Lectroid?). Notice also that
the date on the top of the screen reads 10/31/38, the day
after the infamous Orson Welles radio broadcast of War
of the Worlds, which New Jersey comments on shortly
after (see my notes two paragraphs below). (Thanks to
PopApostle reader Mitch for catching the date!)
At 51:36 on the DVD, John Small Berries is listed as Orbital
Ergonomtrics Team Leader. "Ergonomtrics"
does not seem to be a real word; possibly it is a typo of
"ergonomics", which would make John Small Berries'
job "Orbital Ergonomics", the
design of environments and objects for use in Earth orbit.
New Jersey mentions the Halloween 1938 radio broadcast of
War of the Worlds by Orson Welles. This is a true
event, which presented H.G. Wells' 1898 novel as a drama on
the radio series Mercury Theatre on the Air,
largely as a series of news bulletins describing Martian
craft landing and beginning military actions in Grover's
Mills, New Jersey, which frightened some listeners into
believing an actual Martian invasion was taking place. In
the same scene, young Billy refers to Orson Welles as the
guy in the old wine commercials; Welles was known also for
his series of television commercials in the late 1970s and
early 1980s for Paul Masson Vineyards, intoning, "We will
sell no wine before its time."
The viewing glasses for the holographic record provided by
the Nova Police appear to be nothing more than bubble wrap
At 54:34 on the DVD, Mrs. Johnson steps into the room,
seemingly bearing snacks for the crew; she is carrying several
boxes, including two boxes of Fiddle Faddle, a candy-popcorn
John Emdall proclaims John Whorfin to be as evil as Earth's
John Emdall threatens to destroy Smolensk in the USSR in
order to force Buckaroo to stop John Whorfin from using the
OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER to return to Planet 10 and resume
his reign of tyranny. Perfect Tommy comments that the
Kremlin will likely interpret this as a strike by the U.S.
against them. Smolensk is a real city in Russia and the
Kremlin is the official residence of the President of the
Russian Federation (at the time, the Union of Soviet
The framed drawing on the wall behind Perfect Tommy at 58:45
on the DVD, looks like it might be a schematic of the
original jet car of Masado Banzai from the 1950s.
At 59:03 on the DVD, we see a framed photo of Peggy and
Buckaroo in his room. Perhaps more interesting to note, is
that there is also some strange device sitting partially
obscured by the photograph; a Slinky; and what appears to be
a comic book cover (presumably another issue of his own
At 59:09 on the DVD, Penny remarks that Buckaroo likes Jerry
Jerry Lewis is a comedian and film actor who has been active
At 59:34 and some later scenes on the DVD, for some reason,
a rubber glove is seen attached to the beaker apparatus in
Notice that at 59:33 and later on the DVD, Dr. Hikita still
has the equation on his forehead that Buckaroo transferred
there from the palm of his hand earlier in the film.
For some reason, Dr. Hikita seems bothered by the smell of a
boiling flask on his assistant's lab table at 59:33 on the
DVD. Notice that particular flask pulses with a glow. Hikita
and his assistant are actually working on synthesizing the
compound described in the formula on his forehead. It is the
inhaling of the flask's fumes that allow Hikita to see John
Bigboote as a Lectroid when he enters the lab.
For some reason, there is a file cabinet drawer on fire at
1:01:10 on the DVD, during Buckaroo's chase of John Bigboote.
At 1:01:17 on the DVD, the model of the Jet Car previously
seen at the news conference is sitting on top of some file
cabinets as Buckaroo walks past them.
It would seem that Red Lectroids are able to contort
themselves into very small forms, because John Bigboote
(actually still trapped in the human body of Dr. Emilio
able to somehow squeeze through this whole in a door.
Somehow, even at some distance, Reno is able to see that the
Red Lectroids are taking away Penny as the stolen helicopter
lifts off from the Institute grounds.
National Security Advisor Smirnoff is played by comedian
At 1:07:26 on the DVD, Casper appears to be wearing a
motocross chest pad or something similar. Later, Buckaroo
introduces the devices as a breathing apparatus whipped up
by Dr. Hikita to provide the antidote that allows humans to
see the Lectroids as they really are.
The wreath in the President's hospital room at 1:05:52 on
the DVD, appears to say, "I (heart) MY PRESIDENT". There are
a number of "get well" gifts and decorations around the
room, many of which appear to have been made by school
children (a photo montage which includes the droid C-3PO from
Star Wars appears in the background at 1:13:39).
After the briefing from Buckaroo, the President tells
National Security Advisor Smirnoff to get him SAC in Omaha,
NORAD, and the Strategic Space Command. SAC is the Strategic
Air Command at Offut Air Force Base near Omaha, Nebraska
(SAC has since been disbanded in 1992, after the fall of the
Soviet Union). NORAD is the North American Aerospace Defense
Command, a joint operation of the U.S. and Canada to provide
early warning and defense against air and space offenses
against the two nations. The
Strategic Space Command appears to be a fictional government
At 1:08:13 on the DVD, Perfect Tommy is observing the father
ship on an Electrohome monitor.
Electrohome is a Canadian brand of television sets and
other home electronics.
Throughout the scenes at Yoyodyne, more junk food is seen
around the offices. Seen are a Fritos corn chips bag, a
peanut M&Ms package, a bag of C&H sugar, possibly a Crunch
'n Munch box (or similar product), and a bag of Ruffles potato
Notice that at 1:08:31 on the DVD, John O'Connor starts to
pour honey on Penny's right arm, to entice the ants he brings out
moments later to bite her. At the end of the movie, after
she has been rescued, notice that the right side of her neck and
arm have swollen bite marks.
Throughout his phone call with Buckaroo, Dr. Lizardo is
playing with a sugar cube.
At 1:10:32 on the DVD, a crudely drawn layout of the
Yoyodyne plant is shown.
At 1:11:00 on the DVD, Reno and Pinky appear to have some
odd warpaint designs on their faces as they prepare for the
raid on Yoyodyne.
At 1:11:28 on the DVD, actor Yakov Smirnoff seems to stumble
a bit over the word "surveilling" in his dialog. Listen:
At 1:12:16 on the DVD, an electronic box in the President's
hospital room shows the DEFCON status of both the U.S. and
the USSR. DEFCON (short for Defense Condition) is the
military state of readiness for immediate combat within the
country itself. U.S. DEFCON has 5 levels, with 1 being the
highest (war is imminent). Here, the Eastern Bloc is
depicted as having just 3 states of readiness; I've been
unable to confirm if that is accurate.
During Whorfin's speech to the Lectroids at Yoyodyne, a
banner is seen hanging in the background whose details can't
be made out. In the photo gallery on the DVD it is seen more
clearly and seems to be a picture of Planet 10 with the same
slogan the Lectroids shout back to him. I guess Lectroids
ain't very good spellers!
At 1:18:02 on the DVD, we can see that the electro-patches
that have been placed on Buckaroo by Whorfin are made by
At 1:18:16 on the DVD, we see the logo of the Rug Suckers,
who are members of the Blue Blaze Irregulars. Since the time
of this movie, there have been a few local carpet cleaning
companies that have used this name.
At 1:18:17 on the DVD, we see a warehouse in the background
As Whorfin tries to discover for himself the calculations
that will allow him to breach the 8th dimension, at 1:18:41
on the DVD, both the computer screen and voice tell him,
"That won't work either." (Whorfin also seems to shout in
the Lectroid tongue as the prediction is made.) Listen:
That won't work either
A book on the computer table above appears to be titled
Men of Earth. I'm unaware of a real world book by
At 1:19:37 on the DVD, we see a sign announcing the entrance
to the grounds of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.
At 1:19:38 on the DVD, there is an unexplained bullet hole
in the windshield of the Cavaliers' bus, in the bottom left-hand
corner of the screen. (The deleted scenes on the DVD explain
the presence of the bullet hole; Defense Secretary McKinley
did it while trying to force the bus driver to do what he
At the very entrance gate of Yoyodyne, as seen at 1:19:42 on
the DVD, a sign announces that it is a Top Secret facility!
Another sign announces Yoyodyne is the home of the try-wing
fighter. (Shouldn't that be tri-wing? Probably an
example of the Red Lectroids poor spelling skills.)
The John Small Berries who appears
as a security guard at the Yoyodyne
gate does not look like the same man
seen in the photo on the computer
when Billy was looking up the
records of Yoyodyne employees at the
Banzai Institute. Perhaps this ties
in with the novel's revelation that
the Lectroids look different
to each individual human who sees
At 1:20:31 on the DVD, notice that John Parker runs a bit
At 1:20:51 on the DVD, there appears to be a medieval
knight's helmet sitting on a countertop inside the Yoyodyne
At 1:20:56 on the DVD, a pair of socks
is seen hanging from cables inside Yoyodyne.
There are pictures of Lectroids hanging inside Yoyodyne at 1:23:12 on the DVD.
More evidence that Lectroids are not good spellers.
At 1:24:02 on the DVD,
John Bigboote refers to the slimy slug-like creature he has
put to menacing Penny as a snott.
In the Lectroid launch hangar at 1:25:15 on the DVD, there
appear to be a bunch of lava lamps in the bottom left corner
of the screen.
At 1:25:26 on the DVD, there is a banner for Black Flag
hanging in the Lectroid launch hangar.
Flag is a maker of insecticides.
For some reason, the symbol of the
Emergency Broadcast System appears on the basement tunnel
wall at Yoyodyne at 1:25:42 on the DVD.
At 1:29:05 on the DVD, a
Condor aerial lift is used by Whorfin.
At 1:29:20 on the DVD, a Lectroid is wearing boxing gloves.
In this same scene, we see a can of the same brand of coffee
in the Panther ship as was seen sitting next to Lizardo/Whorfin's
TV at the mental institution. In both cases, the brand name
can't be made out, but the design is the same.
Notice that there is a crucifix hanging above John Whorfin's
pilot seat on the Panther ship.
At 1:33:17 on the DVD, it looks as if the Nova Police aboard
the father ship have been eating ice chips as they navigate
Notice at 1:34:40 on the DVD, there is a YPS (Yoydyne
Propulsion Systems) coat hanging over the back of John
Parker's chair in the thermopod. (And, although it's hard to
see in a still shot, notice there is also a single
fuzzy die dangling from the ceiling of the thermopod
cockpit; it can be seen swaying just at the top edge of the
film frame in several shots.)
During the ending credits sequence, we see that John Parker
is wearing a sort of two-toed shoe on each foot.
During the end credits, where the
Buckaroo Banzai graffiti is
spray-painted on the concrete wall,
it looks like previous versions of
the graffiti have been scoured off
Notes from Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle
track on the DVD
(Below is a selected listing of Pinky Carruther's Unknown
Facts. For the complete list, watch the subtitle track on
the DVD or visit
Pinky Carruther's 47,000 Unknown Facts on the web.)
The 1953 test site is now known as the San Antonio Proving
Grounds. (Webmaster's note: This would indicate the site is
near San Antonio, TX.)
A plaque now marks the location of Buckaroo's test site of
the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER since 1988.
As he enters the testing grounds, Buckaroo's briefcase
contains the OVERTHRUSTER, Einstein's brain, and a tuna
sandwich. (Issue #1 of the comic book adaptation suggests
the sandwich was chicken salad instead.)
The Jet Car's top speed has been clocked at 718 mph.
The designation HB 88 for the Jet Car refers to Hikita/Banzai
and 88 keys on a piano. (Webmaster's note: As I
mentioned earlier in the study, the 88 may also be a stand-in for the mirrored double-B symbol of
Buckaroo Banzai. An 88 logo is seen on the side of the Jet
Car and on the license plate and also on the drum set of the Hong Kong Cavaliers.)
For the past 17 years (at the time of the DVD release), the
original OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER has been used as a can
opener in Mrs. Johnson's kitchen.
The headband worn by Buckaroo during the test drive is the
same one worn by his father on the day he died in 1955, now
on display in the Smithsonian. The kanji on it reads:
"Beauty in everyday life." (Webmaster's notes: Apparently the
headband survived the explosion that killed Buckaroo's
father; kanji are the characters of
the modern Japanese writing system; the Smithsonian is a
reference to the series of museums associated with the
Jerry Segal of Southern California's Thrust Racing built the
Jet Car replica for the movie. (Webmaster's note: Jerry
Segal is a real world jet car designer and co-owner of
Thrust Racing; I've been unable to determine if Thrust
Racing is still in operation).
Professor Hikita once built an atom bomb using only an
abacus. (Webmaster's note: Seems unlikely, even in the BB
universe; and why would he do it?
An abacus is an ancient type of calculator,
still used by merchants and clerks in many parts of the
The actor playing the voice of Mission Control at the test
site turned out to be a member of the World Crime League, sent
to sabotage shooting of the film.
The special EM-sensitive film that captured the images of
the 8th dimension from the Jet Car was invented by Dr. Peter
Kuran. (Webmaster's note: Peter Kuran was the special
effects supervisor of the movie. EM stands for the
Buckaroo carried Einstein's preserved brain with him on the
test to honor the earlier work done by him in attempting to
break the time-space barrier with the Philadelphia
Experiment, also known as the Rainbow Project. (Webmaster's
note: The Philadelphia Experiment is a conspiracy theory
alleging that the U.S. Navy attempted to render the Naval
destroyer U.S.S. Eldridge invisible around October
28, 1943, but which sent portions of the ship and its crew
through time instead. The theory is largely considered a
complete hoax by science and history experts, and little
real evidence exists to support it. It makes a great bit of
BB universe history though! The reference here may also be
towards the film of the same name, based on the alleged
incident, which was released in 1984, the same year as
Across the Eighth Dimension.)
After his incomplete penetration of the wall and takeover of
his mind by John Whorfin, Lizardo went on a crime spree the
proceeds of which funded the founding of Yoyodyne Propulsion
Penny was so down-in-the-dumps that night because she had
just come from making her first and last squish video. The
money was good but she felt so empty inside. (Webmaster's
note: Squish (or crush) videos are those that depict a small
animal being crushed underfoot by a person, a fetish of some
people. Such videos are banned in some countries, including the U.S.
as of December 2010.)
Buckaroo performs "Since I Don't Have You" for Penny, the
first time he's played it since the death of his wife,
Peggy, poisoned by Hanoi Xan. It was her favorite.
The Cavaliers' tour bus is a modified Greyhound SceniCruiser.
The SceniCruiser was manufactured for
from 1954 into the 1970s. (Webmaster's note: Besides
providing transportation for the band and acting as the strategic
command center known as World Watch One, Pinky notes that
the bus also has living quarters and a small recording
studio. This is probably a bit of humor by Earl Mac Rauch
about the large size of the
Pecos and the Seminole Kid are battling Xan's Death Dwarves
in Tibet at this time. (Webmaster's note: The novel states
the two, along with the Argentine, were all on the Calypso
with Cousteau at the time of this adventure.
Perfect Tommy's pet peeve: women with Adam's apples.
The small 8th dimensional life form brought back on the Jet
Car, which was nicknamed Odd Wad, feeds on alcohol and
eventually grew to a circumference of 10 feet.
The motorcycle Buckaroo borrows from the Harley Davidson
convention is an XR1000. This bike was a special production
number and very few were made. (Webmaster's note: This was
an actual motorcycle model made by Harley Davidson in 1984.)
The scenes with the duck hunters were filmed at the end of
the first week of production at
Rocky Oaks Park in the Malibu Mountains.
The car chase sequences on the country roads were shot at
Griffith Park in Los Angeles.
The hunter's simple shotgun was able to shoot down the alien
pod in the woods because Lectroid technology is
electro-chemically based and designed to withstand a barrage
of fire from every conceivable energy source, but protection
from simple projectiles was not part of the design (weapons
of this sort do not exist on Planet 10).
Buckaroo's Five Doctrines are, #1: A man should love others
better than himself. #2: To serve is more honorable than to
command. #3: To give one's life for another is the greatest
glory. #4: Unrequited love is the greatest happiness. #5:
Poverty is the best state for man, although a pauper should
accept a certain amount of wealth to relieve the unhappiness
of the rich.
Billy was arrested for hacking into the FBI's files on
Monica Lewinsky and is serving a sentence.
When the Planet 10 spaceship aimed its beams at this planet,
they scanned the island of Jamaica, leaving the Adders
(black Lectroids) with the false impression that all
Earthlings look like Rastafarians.
The original 'record' device and viewing glasses provided by
the Adders are on display at the Smithsonian. Study of this
technology provided the key to several components in your
Mrs. Johnson loves animals and has a Japanese snow monkey
(macaque) and a Mexican Hairless dog, which is the
unofficial mascot of the Banzai Institute.
Red Lectroids were bred by the Adder majority expressly for
fighting wars of planetary defense, but in time the
Lectroids grew ambitious and seized power for themselves,
overthrowing civilian rule with an army led by Whorfin.
It turns out the Adders were only bluffing about
vaporizing Smolensk, in order to gain Buckaroo's help. Their
actual plan was to strike Yoyodyne - they were only awaiting
approval from the Nova Police, sanctioning body of the
On his much-delayed forthcoming solo album, Perfect Tommy
has a song entitled "Emdall."
Buckaroo's guns are Navy Colts, ordinarily used only when
he's in search of Hanoi Xan (the novel reveals they had
originally belonged to Buckaroo's father). Manufactured in 1851, they are
.36 caliber and among the most popular of all Colt cap and
ball revolvers. They have a 7 1/2 inch barrel and cylinder
engraved with the scene of a battle between the navies of
Texas and Mexico. This weapon was a personal favorite of
Col. Colt himself. (Webmaster's note: Col. Colt is Samuel
Colt, founder of Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing
Company, later Colt's Manufacturing Company; "Colonel" is an
honorary title granted to him by the governor of Connecticut
for his political support.)
Contrary to popular belief, Rawhide is not dead. While he is
not 'with us' in the sense of daily camaraderie, neither is
he a lost cause. Following his descent into coma, he was
placed in medical stasis, his metabolic rate slowed to
a nearly imperceptible level (also known as being put 'on
ice.') An entire wing of the Institute was dedicated to
finding a cure for the deadly Lectroid barb, the best men in
their fields working around the clock. Only now we do we
feel confident to announce that an antidote is indeed nearly
at hand, and we expect our fallen comrade to rejoin our
ranks shortly (his modified Trans-Am is still in his parking
space and his favorite book, The Compleat Angler,
is still on his dresser where he left it). (Webmaster's note:
Trans-Am is a sports car model built by Pontiac from
1967-2002. The Compleat Angler is a 1653 book about
fishing by Izaak Walton.)
New Jersey's Pet Peeve: "Stickers on fruit." (Webmaster's
note: Hey, that's my pet peeve, too!)
There were a number of side effects associated with
Buckaroo's test of the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER. Although
not highly publicized, a veritable laundry list of ailments,
both emotional and physical, continued to plague Buckaroo
for months after his trip through solid matter. In addition
to violent black vomiting spells and apparent damage to the
limbic system of the brain (the seat of emotions), far more
troubling phenomena presented themselves. For example, on
several occasions, Buckaroo walked through walls or simply
disappeared before our eyes. These 'freezing episodes'
typically went on for several minutes, during which time
Buckaroo was totally invisible to us and unable to speak or
move. When a visitor accidentally brushed against Buckaroo
seconds after one such disappearing incident, the poor woman
burst into flames, which proved impossible to extinguish.
Despite these and other problems, work on the latest version
continues apace for the next test run of the new
polymorphous Jet Car II, tentatively scheduled for real
Unknown Fact #8,664: Fire dwells beneath the water palace. (Webmaster's
note: This mysterious comment sounds like something from
Twin Peaks! I have been unable to attribute this quote
to any source beyond this subtitle track.)
General Catbird was still trying to deaden the pain of 'Nam.
Add in the crippling factor of booze and... he is now
cleaning glasses in a San Diego sports bar.
The yellow mound on the floor at Yoyodyne at 1:16:10 on the
DVD is a giant pile of cream-filled, sponge-cake-like snack
Although we referred to it as the Shock Tower, to the
Lectroids it was known as the "Chair of Delight" (so called
because, to the Lectroids, massive electrical shocks were a
source of great pleasure). Among themselves, they used the
chair for recreational purposes, much as we might use a
Lectroids have plump black tongues like Chow puppies.
(Webmaster's note: Chows do have black tongues.)
Lectroids do not bathe as a rule except twice in their lives
(at birth and on their wedding night); they do have a ritual
of self fumigation, however, which also constitutes
recreation for them. A fire using their excrement is started
on the floor and several of them strip and shake their
clothes over the flames. Small parasites which infest their
bodies fall out of their clothes and into the fire where
they explode with different noises, depending upon the
parasite's size. The cumulative effect of all these little
explosions is, to the Lectroid ear, the sweetest kind of
music, akin to a symphony. (Webmaster's note: this would
seem to explain the multiple small fires burning throughout
the factory floor of Yoyodyne.)
Lectroids in general are mucous eaters (along with the
electricity elemental to their existence), but after decades
on this planet they have been weakened by a steady diet of
sweets, asbestos, and filter-tip cigarettes.
After being shot down by Buckaroo, pieces of Whorfin
regenerated and he resumed his treacherous, criminal ways.
In order to survive, he began a career as an Ethiopian drug
mule, squeezing out drug balloons for the World Crime
League. His later plots included a roofing scam that preyed
on the elderly and a graverobbing operation that mined
silicone breast implants for resale to crooked plastic
surgeons. Eventually, he once again came to the attention of
Hanoi Xan. He was last seen co-hosting a goofy morning show
After the heroic assault on Yoyodyne, each Blue Blazer
received an oversized spoon and fork from the grateful
government of the Philippines.
During the massive post-raid cleanup/excavation of Yoyodyne,
John Whorfin's private quarters revealed a cache of edible
Notes from the audio commentary
track on the DVD by W.D. Richter and Reno
(W.D. Richter is the director of
Across the Eighth Dimension. Reno is one of the Hong
Kong Cavaliers, but here in the commentary, it's not actor
Pepe Serna portraying him; this Reno purports to be the real
Reno. I suspect it is actually Earl Mac Rauch. They make a
sort of metafiction out of the Buckaroo Banzai
universe by saying the film they made is a docudrama based
on the real-life adventures of Buckaroo Banzai.)
Richter comments on still having the rock brought back by
Buckaroo from the 8th dimension. But Buckaroo didn't bring a
rock back, he brought a small life-form.
Reno says the Institute has a fleet of vehicles stashed
around the country for use by Buckaroo and his team.
The orbiting satellite seen at 32:37 on the DVD is modeled
after an actual Soviet satellite of the time.
Throughout the commentary, it is stated that somehow
Buckaroo remains anonymous and yet famous; no one except his
associates knows what he really looks like
(he doesn't necessarily look like Peter Weller, the actor
portraying him in the film)
or what his personality is like. But Richter acknowledges
that the fans who have seen his gigs with the Hong Kong
Cavaliers must have seen him and know what he looks like!
And for that matter what about photos? Someone with his
background and credentials and fame must have news coverage
and paparazzi following him almost constantly. And what
about books allegedly written by Reno throughout his career?
Don't they reveal the man?
According to Reno, Hanoi Xan killed Penny some time after
the events of this film, going so far as to murder her
with her own hair at the Church of the Dead in
Czechoslovakia. Although there have been various sites
Church of the Dead, I believe this one is a fictional
construct of the Buckaroo Banzai universe, as Reno
states it is made out of human skulls. (The personal profile
of Penny Priddy on the DVD reveals that she and Buckaroo
were married in 1986 and she was murdered by Xan shortly
thereafter; this has led to speculation that Xan is more
interested in preventing Buckaroo from raising heirs than in
Richter remarks that the famous watermelon in the Banzai
Institute was really just a test to see if the film's
producer was watching the dailies still, because if he was,
he would have complained about the scene. He didn't.
At one point in the commentary it seems as if "Reno" forgets
he's Reno and remarks he wishes they'd given Reno's
character more dialog and fleshed him out.
The Rug Suckers was a real business whose van happened to
drive by while the production was shooting on location
outside the "Yoyodyne" plant. Richter worked it into the
The Lectroids wearing unusual clothing styles such as
striped pants and polka-dot shirts were inspired by a book
which featured photographic depictions of Russian
Notes from the Personal Profiles on the DVD
Buckaroo was born in London while his parents were visiting
Buckaroo was taught how to ride and shoot by Sioux warriors.
Until he was 14, Buckaroo went to school in Denver, CO. (This
seems to conflict with "A
Tomb With a View" in which it appears he spends most of
that time in Texas, being raised on an Apache reservation.)
Buckaroo got his medical degree from Harvard, but
"Of Hunan Bondage" Part
suggests that, while he graduated from traditional college
at Harvard, he then attended medical school at
University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Buckaroo Banzai is a world-renowned authority on particle
physics, quantum mechanics, and trinary bi-dimensional
bi-dimensional reductionalism" seems to be a fictional
scientific field of study.
Buckaroo studied bujitsu (martial arts). His skill with a
six-shooter is reputed to eclipse that of Wyatt Earp. He
speaks a dozen languages.
New Jersey's grandfather was a star of silent cowboy movies
such as The Lone Horseman and The Canyon of
Missing Men. These were real films,
The Lone Horseman, filmed
twice, in 1923 and 1929, and
The Canyon of Missing Men
in 1930 (though since his grandfather isn't named, we don't
know if he was really in them; however, actors Tom Tyler and
J.P. McGowan appear in both the 1929 version of
The Lone Horseman and The Canyon of Missing Men,
so perhaps New Jersey's (Sidney Zwibel's) grandfather was one
Perfect Tommy is of Scottish descent and is related on his
mother's side to Lord Brougham and the historian Robertson.
Lord Brougham (1778–1868) was a real world British statesman
who became Lord Chancellor of Great Britain in 1830. The
reference to the historian Robertson, is probably to either
William Robertson (1721–1793) or Joseph Robertson
(1810–1866) since both were Scottish.
After his instrumental help to Buckaroo Banzai in stopping
Lord Whorfin on Earth, John Parker rose from diplomat to
well-respected politician back on Planet 10.
Notes from the Jet Car All-Access extra on the DVD
This DVD extra contains a wealth of information about the
Jet Car, said to have been obtained from an unpublished
article originally written for Auto Enthusiast
magazine. Most of the parts stats of the vehicle are
true-to-life. The Jet Car is built on a 1982 Ford F-350 with
a 460 CID conventional engine. The jet engine is a modified
General Electric J85 (the J85 was originally designed in the
1950s and, though modifications have been made, it not
only is still in use today, the U.S. Air Force plans to
continue using this engine through 2040!!). (I believe
was a fictional magazine at the time this DVD was put
together, but since then the real world magazine Cars
and Parts has changed its name to
The article also alleges that Perfect Tommy was designing
(or perhaps already had built) a flying version of the Jet
Car, with Russian RD-232 hypergolic rockets mounted to the
chassis. The article's author also received an anonymous
photo a week after interviewing Perfect Tommy about the car
(see below). (As far as I can tell, the RD-232 is a
Notes from the Schematics of Complex 88 extra on the DVD
These notes tell that when the U.S. government
its Titan II missile silos in the Arizona area, the Banzai
Institute bought one of the facilities, known as Complex 88,
transforming it into the Banzai Institute West. It would
seem the name "Complex 88" was likely one of the reasons
they chose to buy it, since it matches the HB-88 name of the
Jet Car and, as I've postulated earlier, the 88's similarity
in look to BB.
Too many to list.
the novelization by Earl Mac Rauch
(The page numbers come from the 1st
printing, trade paperback edition, published December 2001)
The novel is written as if it's a true account of the
adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and his crew by Reno. (Pinky
Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle track on the DVD suggests
the book was ghostwritten by Reno for his friend, Earl Mac
Rauch, as a favor to appease a legal dispute.)
Reno's introduction on page viii reveals that Emilio Lizardo
is the supreme dictator of Planet 10.
The Editor's Note states that portions of the book appeared
previously in the Journal for Empirical Research into
the Paranormal in 1982. This is a fictitious journal.
In the To The Reader note, Reno states that the Nova Police
are essentially the Interpol of Planet 10. Interpol is the
International Criminal Police Organization, which
facilitates international police cooperation here on Earth.
The To The Reader note also reveals that Mrs. (E.) Johnson
is the archivist of the Institute.
Page 1 indicates that this story takes place on June 12-13,
Page 1 reveals that the top floor of the Banzai Institute is
referred to as the bunkhouse by those who are residents
Page 2 mentions a theodolite present at the 1950's test
site. A theodolite is a surveying device, often used for
calibrating rocket-launch technologies.
Page 3 suggests that Dr. Sandra Banzai also died in the jet
car explosion, attempting to pull her husband out of the
burning vehicle. In the extended footage of the film it's
not clear whether she dies or not, but in
"A Tomb With A View",
she survives the explosion.
Page 3 reveals that Hanoi Xan's stronghold headquarters is
in Sabah. This is one of the states of the Indonesian nation
of Malaysia. Page 23 suggests the Xan's bravos hold all of
Sabah in their deadly grip, but obviously this is not true
in the real world, Malaysia being a relatively stable
A footnote on page 4 makes mention of an adventure (yet to be
chronicled in our world) called Extradition from Hell, which
seems to deal with a beautiful zombie named La Negrette and an attempt to rescue Peggy,
who was under the effect of the nerve poison Talava which
destroys the mind but improves the body,
Page 4 reveals that Mrs. Johnson is the widow of Flyboy.
Page 4 also mentions a demo song submitted to the Hong Kong
Cavaliers called "Merry as a Monkey".
Page 5 reveals that the Seminole Kid, Pecos, and the
Argentine were all on the Calypso with Cousteau at
the time of this adventure. This is a reference to the real
world ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau and his ship.
(As noted earliers, Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts states
Pecos and the Seminole Kid are battling Xan's Death Dwarves
in Tibet at this time.)
Page 6 reveals that the surgery Buckaroo was performing
before the jet car test was on an Eskimo in El Paso, TX.
On page 7, a message from the Seminole Kid is received by
World Watch One, mentioning death dwarves aboard (meaning
aboard the Calypso). Reno and the others don't seem
to know what death dwarves are. They are later revealed to
of Xan's bravos; perhaps they are the same type as the
dwarfish troops as seen in
"Of Hunan Bondage" (Part 2).
The novel describes the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER as "a
miniature colliding beam accelerator which created
intermediate vector bosons from the annihilation of
electrons and their antimatter counterparts, positrons."
On page 12, Perfect Tommy mentions the UNIVAC. UNIVAC was a
business unit of the Remington Rand company that produced a
line of industrial computers commonly known as UNIVACs from
Page 14 reveals the principles that Buckaroo lives by and
encourages others to live by: the Five Stresses, i.e. things
to be stressed (decorum, courtesy, public health,
discipline, and morals); the Four Beauties (mind, language,
behavior, and environment); and the Three Loves (love of
others, of justice, of freedom).
On page 16, Buckaroo uses a Nikon camera to photograph the
open skull and brain of the patient on whom he's just
a real world company headquartered in Japan that makes
cameras and other optical and imaging devices.
Page 16 reveals that Buckaroo and Sidney Zwigel (who will
become known as New Jersey) have known
each other since their days at Columbia P and S. This is a
University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. It
was revealed in
"Of Hunan Bondage" (Part 1)
that Buckaroo went to medical school there.
Page 20 reveals that Buckaroo spent some time studying at
Merton College, Oxford. Merton is one of the constituent
colleges of the University of Oxford in England.
Page 22 mentions the overthrow of Constantinople in 1453.
This is true, the city was conquered by the Ottoman Empire
in that year. It is now known as Istanbul and is the largest
city in Turkey.
Page 22 suggests that a blood feud has existed between the
Xan and Banzai families (both of Mongolian descent) for
Page 23 describes Xan as partaking in a jujitsu workout.
Jujitsu is a Japanese martial art.
On page 25, a female commentator is being hit on by Perfect
Tommy. She comments that she is flying to Cambodia that
night. Cambodia is a country on the Indochina Peninsula.
When Buckaroo turns the Jet Car off the track and runs it
towards a solid mountain, General Catburd remarks, "Looks
like Banzai's finally going to get more than he bargained
for, and take the Friends of the Earth with him." I'm not
sure exactly what the General means by that; possibly, he is
sarcastically referring to Team Banzai as the Friends of the
Earth because they earlier showed no interest in the
military applications of the Jet Car.
the Earth is an international network of environmental
Page 28 mentions a presentation given by Buckaroo at the
Page 29 describes the experiment conducted by Dr. Hikita and
Dr. Lizardo in the 1930s that drove Lizardo mad. It took
Princeton University in New Jersey.
The book describes more of what happened to Buckaroo as the
Jet Car passed through the 8th dimension, including that
some kind of ferocious, stinging pests penetrated the
vehicle and his flight suit. The description of screaming
bodies, red rivers, and stars that are actually eyeballs
watching him is much more like that of a vision of Hell than
what is seen in the movie (though the TV commentator's later
announcement of what Buckaroo saw comes close to matching
the book's description).
In the book, Lizardo receives a call from Hanoi Xan
regarding Buckaroo's live-broadcasted feat of traveling
through a solid mountain, stating it was similar to Lizardo's
feat of travelling
through a wall in 1938.
Page 33 describes Dr. Lizardo as having a Neapolitan accent.
This suggests Lizardo had an upbringing in the Naples region
Page 47 reveals that Pinky Carruthers has just adopted the
philosophy of Kashmirian Shavism. Kashmir Shaivism (as it's
more commonly known) is an actual sect of Hinduism which
believes that matter is not separated from consciousness,
but identical to it. This is similar to what is described as
Buckaroo's own belief, derived from scientific study.
On page 49, Rawhide tells Buckaroo that he saw Perfect Tommy
with the blonde from CBS.
CBS is the
Columbia Broadcasting System, a television network in the
Also on page 49, Buckaroo asks his team to join him in a
drink of aguardiente he picked up in El Paso. "Aguardiente"
is a Spanish term for any very strong alcoholic beverage.
A footnote on page 54 suggests there was an as-yet-unchronicled adventure called Bastardy Proved a Spur
in which Reno and the strong-willed woman, Pecos, agree to
wed at some future date. This story also features a cat's
paw of Xan's, the Pasha of Three Tails.
On page 56, Buckaroo mentions the band playing at the
Hollywood Palladium. The Palladium is a ballroom and theater
built in 1940 on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood.
On page 60, Professor Hikita mentions that the specimen from
the 8th dimension is being kept in an Igloo ice box.
is a U.S. producer of ice chests.
Page 74 refers to the ship being built at Yoyodyne as the
Page 78 reveals that Peggy's last name before marrying
Buckaroo was Simpson and she was murdered only a
half-an-hour after her wedding with Buckaroo by inhaling the
scent of cyanide-laced roses.
Page 78 also reveals the wedding took place at the
Church of St. John the Divine in New York City.
Page 79 introduces another member of Team Banzai, Captain
Happen, who has an interest in the paranormal. He and Pecos
are alleged to have spoken to a strangely agitated ghost who
haunts the Church of St. John the Divine shortly before Peggy's murder. Later, Buckaroo tricks Captain Happen into
incriminating himself in Peggy's "death" and he leaps from a
high-story window to his death; it was found that he had a
miniature radio receiver implanted in his brain, most likely
to receive instructions from Hanoi Xan, as do his Death
Page 79 also describes how Buckaroo brought in Georgiana
Albricht from the Duke University Department of
Parapsychology to investigate Peggy's murder.
University actually did have a Department of
Parapsychology (though Georgiana Albricht is a fictional
character), now known as the
Beginning on page 81 and elsewhere, the novel suggests that
Xan may have hoaxed Peggy's death and that she is actually
On page 90, Reno says, "Non e vero?" This is Italian for
"It's made up?"
Page 97 mentions Buckaroo having attended the recent
coronation of a Nepalese monarch. The closest to a "recent"
coronation in Nepal in the time period of the early 1980s
when this novel takes place, is the coronation of King
Berendra in 1972.
Page 98 mentions El Dorado. El Dorado is a legendary lost
city of gold alleged to exist from the time of the Muisca
Confederation of American Indians in Columbia before the
Page 100 suggests that Penny believes her twin sister to
have died in a fire with their parents when she was little.
Page 108 reveals the Lectroids worship a god called the
On pages 112-119, Buckaroo, Reno, and Penny engage in a cosmological
discussion that references the Great Void, Chang Tsai,
alaya consciousness, the Socratic school, Clairvoyant
Reality, and Isaac Newton's Principia. These are all
real world cosmological philosophies, people, and methods.
Page 114 explains that the President was in the hospital
recovering from surgery performed by Dr. Banzai himself. (In
Pinky Carruther's Unknown Facts subtitle track on the DVD,
he states: "The President's underwear kept riding up to the
point where surgery was the only option.")
The slides of the 8th dimension presented by Dr. Hikita at
the news conference include images of a U.S. naval vessel
and its young sailors with horrified looks on their faces.
Hikita states that this is U.S. naval frigate number 754,
which disappeared from the North Atlantic in 1942,
previously believed to have been sunk by a German U-boat.
On page 127, Penny claims to have spent a brief time as a
religieuse, a nun.
On pages 127-128, Reno tells Penny a story from classical
antiquity in which an Indian prince is said to have sent a
beautiful girl slave to Alexander the Great as a gift. The girl had been raised on poisons such that she was immune
to them, but poisonous in herself such that her kiss would
kill. This is an actual story from antiquity, though
doubtful to be a true one.
Page 129 refers to the Nova Police ship in orbit over Earth
as a father ship (instead of the customary mother ship).
In the book, the black Lectroids are referred to as Adders.
Page 131 mentions Dr. Lizardo's arrest by Hoover's G-Men not
long after the founding of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.
"Hoover's G-Men" is a reference to FBI agents of the first
director of the FBI (from 1935-1972),
J. Edgar Hoover.
The book reveals that Yoyodyne was the largest privately
held defense contractor in the U.S. and John Bigboote hailed
as an innovative CEO by Forbes magazine.
is an influential business magazine published since 1917.
Before Lizardo's escape from the mental institution,
Yoyodyne had been set to open a branch in the Limehouse
district of London on West India Dock Road. This is an
actual district and road in London.
Page 132 reveals that Yoyodyne had been working on a plane
for the U.S. that would recognize the signatures of Soviet
Delta class submarines. The Delta class nuclear
subs have been the mainstay of the Soviet/Russian fleet
since their introduction in 1973, still operating today,
though due to be replaced by the new Borei class
On page 133, John Bigboote is worried about an ongoing
congressional investigation and by the General Services
Administration, of Yoyodyne due to funding that was being
funneled away from the business by John Whorfin for the
Panther ship. The
General Services Administration is an agency of the U.S.
government that supports the functioning of other federal
John Bigboote contemplates killing John Whorfin and eating
his brain; by Lectroid law, that would make him Lectroid
A Lectroid tenet: The greatest deeds are possible to a
On page 134, John Bigboote recalls having once read
is one of the most well-known of William Shakespeare's
plays, based on the betrayal and assassination of the famous
The small Nova Police ship that gets shot down by the human
hunters is called a thermopod.
On page 141, the rope ladder dropped from the helicopter to
pull Buckaroo up from his flight from the Lectroids is
referred to as Jacob's ladder. This is a reference to the
ladder to Heaven seen by Jacob in the Biblical Book of
The novel describes the Banzai Institute as founded in 1972
in Holland Township, New Jersey, covering 112 acres above
the Delaware River Valley. Obviously the Institute is
fictional, but the rest are real parts of New Jersey.
Page 135 mentions the
Science Foundation, a real U.S. government scientific
Page 146 lists a number of U.S. think tanks: the Rand
Corporation, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, Hudson, Sandia,
and Brookings. These are all real world think tanks.
Page 148 reveals that the Banzai Institute was partly
responsible for the drug Interferon, the Numerical
Aerodynamic Simulator, and Kevlar (among other things, but
these are all real world scientific marvels; however, Kevlar
was actually developed in 1965 by DuPont, before the 1972
founding of the Banzai Institute).
Page 148 also relates Pecos' concept of a skyhook,
essentially a space elevator, a cable attached to the Earth
at the equator and which stretches out into Earth orbit so
that people and objects can be hauled up and down, to and from
space. This is a real world concept that has been proposed
in various different formats since 1959. Reno relates the
climb up the cable to Jack's climb up the beanstalk,
referring to the English folk tale Jack and the
Beanstalk, in which a young lad climbs a giant
beanstalk up into the sky and emerges into a land of giants.
Pages 149-152 relate congressional testimony given by
Perfect Tommy, mentioning Senators Nunn of Georgia and Tower
of Texas. These are references to the real world senators at
the time, Sam Nunn and John Tower. The testimony relates to
the nuclear arms race between the U.S. and the Soviet Union
and the concept of the MX dense-pack. The dense-pack was
also a real world concept of the early 1980's, the idea
being a strategy of basing U.S. MX nuclear missiles in such
a way as to maximize their potential survival in the event
of a first strike so that the U.S. could still strike back;
this proposal was defeated in 1983 as being flawed and far
from ensuring the missiles' survivability at any rate. The
Bluff Concept raised by Perfect Tommy, of building a large
number of fake missiles to trick the Soviets into thinking
the U.S. had more than it did and forcing them to spend more
to keep up, may have actually happened in reverse; there
have been reports that the Soviets paraded fake missiles
through Red Square and scared the U.S. into thinking they
had many more working models of nuclear missiles than they
did (see this
Independent article out of the U.K.).
Page 152 mentions the
On page 153, Reno mentions a thought experiment about
tachyons, hypothetical particles that travel faster than
light and can never reach a speed equal to or less than the
speed of light. This is a real world hypothesis in the study
of special relativity.
The book reveals that the pilot of the Thermopod was named
John Gant. The commander of the father ship is John
Penworthy. The queen of the Adders is John Emdall.
Page 163 mentions the Atari 800 computer. This is one of the
computers produced in the line of Atari 8-bit home
computers; the 800 was sold from 1979-1982.
Page 163 also mentions Billy having hacked into the National
Security Administration (probably meant to be the
Security Agency), the
Pentagon, and the
On page 166, Reno mentions that the planet Pluto is about 30
AU away. AU stands for astronomical unit and, as the book
states, is equal to about 93 million miles, the mean
distance between the Earth and the sun.
Also on page 166, New Jersey remarks that it took Marco Polo
24 years to make his round trip from Venice to China. This
is true, Marco Polo made the trip from 1269-1293 AD.
On page 167, Billy is using a beloved IBM 370. This is a
reference to the IBM System/370 computer, introduced in
1970. They were in popular use up through the 1980s.
Page 174 reveals that Planet 10 is in the Alpha Centauri A
Alpha Centauri A is the larger star of the binary star
system of Alpha Centauri, about 4.37 light years from Earth,
making it the closest system to our own.
Unlike in the movie, where the team has only until sunset to
stop John Whorfin, here they are given until midnight.
On page 178, Buckaroo mentions P'ang the Lay Disciple.
Layman P'ang (740–808 BCE) is a celebrated Chinese Buddhist
who was considered an exemplary model of the Buddhist life.
John Parker tells Reno that Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong
Kong Cavaliers are very big on Planet 10.
The footnote on page 187 reveals that in optimal conditions,
certain powerful Mexican radio stations can be received on
Planet 10. This is a humorous reference to the fact that the radio
stations in Mexico are well-known for their powerful and
often overwhelming signals that allow them to reach large
distances out of the country and even overwhelm local radio
stations due to the relative lack of regulation of broadcast
wattage in Mexico.
On page 188, Reno is carrying a .45 automatic weapon. This
is the M1911 semi-automatic pistol designed by John Browning
in 1911 and still in use by many civilians and military
personnel throughout the world today.
Page 188 reveals that Peggy had
driven a Vauxhall Wyvern which was
still in storage in the garage at
the Institute. The Wyvern is a
British car made by Vauxhall from
1948-1957. The book doesn't mention
whether she drove the Wyvern LIX or
On page 197, Reno comments that the language spoken by the
Adders and Lectroids is reminiscent of the Magyar tongue.
Magyar is a term used to describe the ethnic group native to
As Rawhide lies dying on the floor on pages 199-200, he and
the others with him speak a number of quotes by such
philosophers as Aristotle, Alexander (the Great), Socrates,
and Aristippus. These are all actual philosophers from
history and the quotes attributed to them here are accurate.
The "penny paradox" footnote on page 201 mentions the penny
paradox "so familiar to science buffs." I'm not sure how "familiar"
the penny paradox really is in science realms, but there is
a demonstration as described by Reno that illustrates,
with two pennies,
moon rotation conundrum.
Page 202 reveals that Rawhide had been a world traveler
even before meeting Buckaroo Banzai and mentions a visit to
La Plata. La Plata is a city in Argentina. Also mentioned is
a photograph of Rawhide in a blue burnoose sitting on
horseback between two Touaregs. Touaregs are nomads of the
Sahara, known for the blue robes they wear.
Page 202 also reveals that Rawhide was a fan of the writings
of Hudson. Most likely this is a reference to William Henry
Hudson, a naturalist and author who grew up in Argentina.
Also on page 202, Reno relates a story he told at Rawhide's
funeral in which the two of them were in the Naruto Strait
in the Inland Sea of Japan when their Zodiac sank. The
Naruto Strait is a real place; Zodiac
refers to the French company The Zodiac Group, which makes
many products but is best known for their inflatable
On page 206, Reno refers to the raid on Yoyodyne as a "wassercheide
of human history." "Wassercheide" is German for "watershed",
so referring to a watershed moment (or turning point) in
The book goes into a bit more detail of how the Lectroids
and Adders are able to appear human to humans unless the
"antidote" has been taken, further explaining that Lectroids
speed the emission of consciousness particles (this goes
back to Buckaroo's theory earlier in the book that all
objects have consciousness), causing the Lectroids to appear
"blurry" and our human minds to fill in the details of their
looks with something familiar. In fact, New Jersey and Dr.
Hikita soon realize that different people would each see a
Lectroid differently: different facial features and even
different age ranges. How then would a camera see a Lectroid
or Adder? Would it capture the actual features? Or would the
consciousness of the photograph also emit consciousness
particles that fool the human mind into seeing human
features on the aliens pictured?
On page 220, in relation to the OVERTHRUSTER, a Lectroid
asks Penny, "What is the crucial missing circuit to overcome
Goldshtik's problem?" This is a reference to M.A. Goldshtik,
whose work in thermophysics showed a problem with arbitrary
velocity in thermophysical experimentation.
Page 222 reveals that Casper and Scooter dropped
microminiature listening devices disguised as Pepsi bottle
caps over Yoyodyne in order to allow World Watch One to
listen in on what was happening prior to and during the
Page 223 reveals that Reno's last name is Nevada.
Apparently he later refers to himself as Reno of Memphis.
On page 224, Perfect Tommy is carrying an Uzi.
The general Uzi line of weapons was
designed by Israeli Captain Uziel Gal in the late 1940s and
named after him. On page 230, Tommy pulls a Wetterling gun
from his coat; I have not been able to identify what a
Wetterling gun is.
On page 226, Penny explains that she attempted to use wu-shu
discipline to endure the pain to which she was subjected in
the Pit by the Lectroids. Wu-shu is a Chinese term which
essentially means "martial art"; meditative techniques such
as Penny used here are often part of martial arts courses.
On page 232, Reno remarks on a visit he once made to a seedy
taproom in Marseille. Marseille is the second largest city
in France. In that taproom, he comments there were coolies
and Lascars. Coolies are Asian day-laborers and Lascars are
likewise Asian sailors or militiamen.
On page 235, Reno remarks on a time he saw Hanoi Xan at the
Majestic Hotel in New York City. This is a real hotel,
though it is now called the
On page 236, Reno notes that among the dead of Team Banzai
after the raid on Yoyodyne are Mustang Sally, Deputy Dan, and
the brilliant geneticist Evermore.
Unlike in the film, where Whorfin's OVERTHRUSTER seems to
fail completely during the Panther ship's escape, in the
book, the ship at first makes it halfway into the 8th
dimension, enabling the still young other half of Dr.
Lizardo to emerge back onto Earth. Unfortunately, as a
result of his harrowing experiences, he soon goes mad
himself and winds up confined to the same mental institution
Whorfin-as-Lizardo was in.
On page 246, Reno mentions receiving a transcript of the
Panther ship's cockpit communications from Adder agents via
Federal Express (now known officially as
FedEx) is a
logistics and package delivery corporation.
The novel reveals that the parachute Buckaroo uses at the
end of the film belonged to John Bigboote and was stashed in
the escape pod.
On page 251, Scooter comments that he was carrying an AR at
the Yoyodyne raid. Most likely this is a reference to an
AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle (what the U.S. military
calls an M16), which does look similar to the rifles wielded
by Team Banzai and Blue Blaze Irregulars during the
On pages 251-252, Reno remarks on Perfect Tommy practicing
his reaction times against Jungle-masters kept in his room
as pets. I'm not sure exactly what "Jungle-master" refers
to, but it seems to be some type of cat, possibly large
Page 252 reveals that Pecos escaped Xan's death-dwarves at
sea with the help of a school of porpoises. It is also
suggested the she and Reno may be heading on a polar mapping
expedition after this.
On page 253, Mrs. Johnson reveals that she discovered tiny
scars behind Penny's ears.
Page 253 reveals the drink of fermented mare's milk often
drank by the Cavaliers is called Karakoumiss. Karakoumiss is
a drink popular among the Russian Cossacks.
At the end of the book is printed a letter from the agent of
Orson Welles, in which the famous actor/director denies any
collusion with aliens to hide their arrival in Grover's
the 2-issue comic book adaptation published by Marvel Comics
Written by Bill Mantlo
Pencils by Mark Texeira
Inks by Armando Gil
Covers by Mark Texeira and Armando Gil
Issue #1: Page 3 reveals that the Secretary of Defense is
named McKinley. In the movie, we learn his first name is
John. In the real world of the time, the U.S.
defense secretary was Caspar Weinberger.
Issue #1: The novelization suggests the portable video
phones carried by Team Banzai were made by the Institute. On
page 3 here, the one being used by Rawhide is labeled as
Sony. (The novel speaks of the cellular phone as Go-Phones.)
Issue #1: On page 6, General Catburd remarks that the Jet
Car is fast, but "war ain't Indianapolis." This is a
reference to the Indianapolis 500 motorcar race held
annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway,
Issue #1: Instead of slowing down the Jet Car with a
parachute as in the film, saying he's moving too fast for a
parachute stop, Buckaroo forces the vehicle to tilt onto its
side and skids it along the ground to slow down!
Issue #1: Among Dr. Lizardo's stacks of books we see
some called English 101, Math No. 7,
Einstein's Theory of...(most likely Relativity),
and What is God.
Issue #1: Page 11 reveals that the 1930 experiment conducted
by Drs. Hikita and Lizardo which resulted in Lizardo's
insanity took place in an abandoned wicker factory.
Issue #1: On page 16, Penny mumbles to herself that she must
have been to a hundred of Buckaroo's shows and now he
finally notices her. (In the film's audio commentary on the
DVD, W.D. Richter and Reno state that her presence there seems to
have been merely fate.)
Issue #1: Before attempting to kill herself, Penny says,
"After the first death, there is no other!" This is the
final line of the Dylan Thomas poem "A Refusal To Mourn The
Death, By Fire, Of A Child In London." (The line is
also attributed to Buckaroo himself in Pinky Carruther's
Unknown Facts subtitle track on the DVD.)
Issue #1: On page 20, Buckaroo says that Peggy was a
first-class physicist. This doesn't seem to be born out by
other depictions of the character.
Issue #1: Also on page 20, Penny claims she was sold to the
Priddy family when she was a tot. In the novel she merely
says she was adopted by a distant relative.
Issue #1: On page 24, panel 1, a partially obscured banner
at the news conference appears to read "John Lance". This
may be an indication that the scene was filmed at John Lance
Arena, a 6,500 seat arena in Pittsburgh, Kansas (although
I've not found any evidence the production did any filming
in Kansas). The novelization suggests a hotel ballroom was
booked for the announcement. Part of the banner is also seen
in the film at 43:03 on the DVD, under another banner,
"Harley Davidson Eastern Division Dealer of the Year"; so
possibly John Lance is the name of the dealer of the year.
Issue #1: Also on page 24, a reporter asks what happened to
the fifth, sixth, and seventh dimensions. Penny compares it
Minkowski space. Minkowski space is the representation of
our own 4-dimensional world (three dimensions of space and
one of time). (There is also a mention of Minkowski Space on
the clear board at the Banzai Institute at 56:00 on the
DVD.) Also note that Buckaroo did seemingly pay a very brief
visit to the 7th dimension in
"Of Hunan Bondage" Part 2.
Issue #2: On page 4, panel 4, notice
that the Buckaroo Banzai comic book
dropped by the Black Lectroid has
the same cover as issue #1 of this
very limited series (although
Buckaroo appears to be wearing his
glasses on the Lectroid's cover)!
Issue #2: When he hears about the thermopod on Earth on page
5, John Bigboote remarks that the Black Lectroids are "more
than three trillion six hundred and sixty million miles
away". That's a little more than half a light-year. How does
he know they are at that approximate distance? Their
homeworld of Alpha Centauri is over 4 light-years away.
Issue #2: Also on page 5, the Red Lectroids mention the
thermopod's signal is coming from around Route 3. Since they
are in New Jersey, we know this is a reference to the state
highway which runs in the northern part of New Jersey.
Issue #2: On page 6, panel 2, the license plate of the
Yoyodyne van appears to be "YO-YO".
Issue #2: On page 7, panel 1, the ionic charge that has been
infused into Buckaroo due to the electronic message he
received from the Nova Police is causing his Go-Phone to be
staticy as he talks to the gang back at the Institute.
Issue #2: On page 10, John Parker is referred to
off-handedly as a Rastafarian. Rastafarians are members of
the Rastafari Christian movement in Jamaica, so technically
John Parker is not one, despite his Jamaican look and
Issue #2: On page 12, we see that Peggy had autographed the
photo of her and Buckaroo: "To my Bucking Bronco-buster,
with Love, Peggy."
Issue #2: Also on page 12, Hanoi Xan is revealed to be not
only the boss of the World Crime League, but to have the
titles Supreme Commander of the Legion of Death and the
Pivot of Mystery. (His personal profile on the DVD also
refers to him as the Scourge of Burma, The Spawn of Hell,
and the Face that is No Face.)
Issue #2: On the final panel of page 18, Secretary
McKinley's formerly grey outfit has turned green, like Army
Issue #2: On page 19, New Jersey gets rid of the snott
menacing Penny by spraying it with what looks like a can of
insecticide. In the film, Buckaroo simply picks it up and
don't tug on
lithium is no longer available on credit.wav
laugh while you can, monkey boy.wav
is someone out there not having a good time?.wav
no matter where you go, there you are.wav
on TV once?.wav
just as soon kill you as go fishin'.wav
I don't imagine you came here to listen me talk.wav
forgot your thruster.wav
evil, pure and simple, from the 8th dimension.wav
Lectroids from Planet 10, by way of the 8th dimension.wav
why is there a watermelon there?.wav
Earth is caught in a crossfire.wav
in New Jersey.wav
a girl named
the miserable annals of the Earth.wav
Penny for your thoughts.wav
I'm glad someone has the balls.wav
what is your
there are monkey boys in the facility.wav
understand, monkey boy?.wav
you in Hell.wav
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