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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com

Across the Eighth Dimension
Written by Earl Mac Rauch
Directed by W.D. Richter
Released in 1984


When Brilliant brain surgeon/scientist/rock star/adventurer Buckaroo Banzai perfects his father’s invention known as the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER for traveling into the 8th dimension, he attracts the attention of the insane Dr. Emilio Lizardo, who wants to steal the device and bring forth an army of aliens to destroy Earth.

 

Read a story synopsis and analysis of the film by John Kenneth Muir

 

Didja Know?

 

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 middle.

 

Didja Notice?

 

The declassified footage at the beginning of the film is narrated by Rawhide.

 

Dr. Masado Banzai was the preeminent Japanese quantum theorist.

 

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 Willoughby.)

 

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 known as 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 Alan Motley.)

 

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, CA.

 

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 model.)

 

Various brand logos associated with auto parts are seen on the side of the Jet Car, presumably corporate sponsors of Banzai's work. Monroe is a manufacturer of automobile shocks and struts. BFGoodrich is a brand of tires made by Michelin. 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 Buckaroo Banzai.

   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. (The track of the Cavaliers was actually laid down by Billy Vera and the Beaters; Billy Vera plays Pinky Carruthers in the film.)

 

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 parked on.

 

At 14:38 on the DVD, there appears to be a can of Budweiser 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.) At 17:46, a copy of Time 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 Planet 10.

 

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 Dolly 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 once!

 

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 game.

 

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 Jersey.)

 

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. Sony is a real world manufacturer of home electronics, based in Japan.

 

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 Netherlands". 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 black Lectroids.

 

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 Nestle.

 

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 quit.")


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 Pepsi-Cola tin sign.

 

For some reason, there are a number of grapefruits sitting around the offices of the Banzai Institute, e.g. 49:59 on the DVD.

 

"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 series.

 

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 and plastic!

 

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 treat.

 

John Emdall proclaims John Whorfin to be as evil as Earth's Hitler.

 

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 Socialist Republics).

 

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 Marvel comic).

 

At 59:09 on the DVD, Penny remarks that Buckaroo likes Jerry Lewis. Jerry Lewis is a comedian and film actor who has been active since 1931.

 

At 59:34 and some later scenes on the DVD, for some reason, a rubber glove is seen attached to the beaker apparatus in Hikita's lab.

 

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 Lizardo) was 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 Yakov Smirnoff.

 

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 organization.

 

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 chips.

 

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: surveilling

 

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 Hewlett-Packard.

 

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 for Hon office furnishings.

 

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 this title.

 

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 wanted!)

 

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 them.

 

At 1:20:31 on the DVD, notice that John Parker runs a bit oddly.

 

At 1:20:51 on the DVD, there appears to be a medieval knight's helmet sitting on a countertop inside the Yoyodyne complex.

 

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. Black 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 the craft.

 

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 the wall.

 

 

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 Smithsonian Institute.)

 

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 world.)

 

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 electromagnetic spectrum.)

 

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 Systems.

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 Greyhound by GMC 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 SceniCruiser bus.)

 

Pecos and the Seminole Kid are battling Xan's Death Dwarves in Tibet at this time. (Webmaster's note: The novel states that 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 DVD player.

 

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 universe.

 

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 of the OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER continues apace for the next test run of the new polymorphous Jet Car II, tentatively scheduled for real soon.

 

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 food.

 

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 sauna.

 

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 in Philadelphia.

 

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 panties.

 

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 personally with her own hair at the Church of the Dead in Czechoslovakia. Although there have been various sites nicknamed 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 killing him.)

 

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 script.

 

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 everyday-wear!

 

Notes from the Personal Profiles on the DVD

 

Buckaroo was born in London while his parents were visiting England.

 

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 1 suggests that, while he graduated from traditional college at Harvard, he then attended medical school at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons.

 

Buckaroo Banzai is a world-renowned authority on particle physics, quantum mechanics, and trinary bi-dimensional reductionalism. "Trinary 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 of them!).

 

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 Auto Enthusiast 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 Auto Enthusiast.)

 

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 fictional rocket.)
 

 

Notes from the Schematics of Complex 88 extra on the DVD

 

These notes tell that when the U.S. government decommissioned 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.

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Too many to list.

 

 

Notes from 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 real world 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, 1981.

 

Page 1 reveals that the top floor of the Banzai Institute is referred to as the bunkhouse by those who are residents there.

 

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 nation.

 

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, from Xan.

 

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 that 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 be some 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 about 1950-1982.

 

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 operated. Nikon is 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 reference to Columbia 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 centuries.

 

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. Friends of the Earth is an international network of environmental organizations.

 

Page 28 mentions a presentation given by Buckaroo at the American Psychiatric Association.

 

Page 29 describes the experiment conducted by Dr. Hikita and Dr. Lizardo in the 1930s that drove Lizardo mad. It took place at 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 of Italy.

 

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 United States.

 

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. Igloo is a U.S. producer of ice chests.

 

Page 74 refers to the ship being built at Yoyodyne as the Panther Ship.

 

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 Dwarves.

 

Page 79 also describes how Buckaroo brought in Georgiana Albricht from the Duke University Department of Parapsychology to investigate Peggy's murder. Duke University actually did have a Department of Parapsychology (though Georgiana Albricht is a fictional character), now known as the Rhine Research Center.

 

Beginning on page 81 and elsewhere, the novel suggests that Xan may have hoaxed Peggy's death and that she is actually still alive.

 

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 16th Century.

 

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 Flying Fish.

 

On pages 112-119, Buckaroo, Reno, and Penny engage in a cosmological discussion that references the Great Void, Chang Tsai, ch'i, 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. Forbes 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 sub.

 

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 agencies.

 

John Bigboote contemplates killing John Whorfin and eating his brain; by Lectroid law, that would make him Lectroid Leader.

 

A Lectroid tenet: The greatest deeds are possible to a murderous mood.

 

On page 134, John Bigboote recalls having once read Julius Caesar. Julius Caesar is one of the most well-known of William Shakespeare's plays, based on the betrayal and assassination of the famous Roman emperor.

 

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 Genesis.

 

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 National Science Foundation, a real U.S. government scientific research organization.

 

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 Harvard School of Business.

 

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 National Security Agency), the Pentagon, and the CIA.

 

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 system. 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 EIX.
Vauxhall Wyvern LIX (from Wikipedia) Vauxhall Wyvern EIX (from Wikipedia)

 

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 Hungary.

 

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, the 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 watercraft.

 

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 human history.

 

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 raid.

 

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 Dream Hotel.

 

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. 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 offensive.

 

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 ones.

 

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 Mills. 

 

Notes from 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, Indiana.

 

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 to 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 accent.

 

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 greens!

 

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 throws it. 

 

Memorable Dialog

 

don't tug on that.wav

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

wasn't he on TV once?.wav

a top scientist.wav

just as soon kill you as go fishin'.wav

because you're perfect.wav

I don't imagine you came here to listen me talk.wav

you forgot your thruster.wav

evil, pure and simple, from the 8th dimension.wav

Buckaroo's in trouble.wav

Lectroids from Planet 10, by way of the 8th dimension.wav

John Valuk is dead.wav

nice jacket.wav

why is there a watermelon there?.wav

Earth is caught in a crossfire.wav

race war in New Jersey.wav

a girl named John?.wav

the miserable annals of the Earth.wav

a Penny for your thoughts.wav

I'm glad someone has the balls.wav

the short form.wav

real soon.wav

curse you, Banzai.wav

sealed with a curse.wav

that won't work either.wav

what is your name?.wav

there are monkey boys in the facility.wav

understand, monkey boy?.wav

Bigboote.wav

welcome aboard.wav

Arrivederci, Banzai.wav

I'll see you in Hell.wav

which was yes?.wav

big deal.wav 

 

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