Pup ‘N’ Taco

EMILY: I hope Raul’s getting enough shots of Lorelai. I don’t want the whole damn ceremony and none of her.

RICHARD: Oh, no, I disagree. I hope he gets every inspired word articulated by the East Coast Marketing Director of Pup ‘N’ Taco.

Pup ‘N’ Taco, a chain of fast-food restaurants in Southern California, originally headquartered in Long Beach, L.A. It was founded in 1956 by Russell Wendell as a drive-in restaurant selling tacos, hot dogs, and pastrami sandwiches. The first officially named Pup ‘N’ Taco opened in Pasadena in 1965. The business was bought out by Taco Bell in 1984, effectively ending the chain.

Not only did Pup ‘N’ Taco never have an East Coast Marketing Director (they were Californian), but they didn’t even exist in 2002! I presume Richard has no idea who he’s been listening to, and only knows the name Pup ‘N’ Taco because Johnny Carson used to make a lot of jokes about it on The Tonight Show in the 1970s and ’80s.

Ermenegildo Zegna

JACKSON: Oh, thanks to my best new friend Ermenegildo Zegna.

Ermenegildo Zegna (born 1955), Italian entrepreneur and CEO of the luxury fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, founded in 1910 by Zegna’s grandfather, after whom he is named. Ermenegildo Zegna Group is the largest menswear group in the world by revenue. Although there are only a few Zegna boutiques in the USA, Jackson could have bought his suit at any number of department stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.

Hummel

RORY: And a couple years ago Mom drove us in to shop, and she couldn’t find a good parking place and all of the parking lots were a total rip-off, so she kept making U-turns and cutting off taxis and we were being screamed at in so many different languages that we just turned around and drove home and bought a Hummel at the curio store in Stars Hollow.

Hummel figurines, often just called Hummels, are a series of porcelain figurines based on the drawings of Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, a German nun from the Franciscan Order. These sketches began to appear in Germany and Switzerland during the 1930s, mostly pastoral scenes of children.

Porcelain-maker Franz Goebel acquired the rights to turn the sketches into figurines, the first line produced in 1935. Introduced at the Leipzig Trade Fair, they quickly found American distributors. The popularity of Hummels grew after World War II as American soldiers stationed in West Germany began sending them home as gifts.

Nostalgia was a big factor in the figurines becoming popular, and they were commonly purchased during European travel as souvenirs. During the 1970s, prices began to skyrocket, and the M.I. Hummel Club was founded in 1977. Today a genuine Hummel would cost over $100 for a small piece, to more than $1000 for a larger and more elaborate one.

Lorelai bought a Hummel in 2000, presumably before the show opens in September of that year. Although I can see how Lorelai would appreciate the kitschy appeal of these collectables, I cannot recall actually seeing a Hummel on display in their house.

Zagat’s

RORY: I’ll look it up in Zagat’s.

The Zagat Survey, commonly known as Zagat, an organisation which collects and correlates the ratings of restaurants by diners, established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979. Their first guide was only for New York City, with reviews written by their friends; at its height in 2005, it covered 70 cities, based on the input of more than 250 000 people, rating not only restaurants, but also hotels, shopping, nightlife, zoos, museums, music, movies, theatres, golf courses, and airlines.

Zagat was published in a number of books and guides, and had a website you could subscribe to. Zagat was bought by Google in 2011 and is fully integrated into Google services such as Google Maps and Google + Local. Most of the staff were laid off, and production of Zagat in book form is looking “bleak”. They sold it to The Infatuation in 2019, with promises of a comeback, new website, and apps.

“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”

[Jackson moans]

LORELAI: Now say, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.

A reference to a 1970 Alka-Seltzer commercial, shown on television. It shows a newly-wed couple (played by Alice Playten and Terry Kiser) in the bedroom where the wife has served her husband a giant dumpling. The husband says, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!”, which becomes the commercial’s tagline. He quickly and secretly takes some Alka-Seltzer antacids so his wife won’t know how indigestible her cooking is.

The commercial was created by Howie Cohen, who was inspired by a real life incident where he ate everything he was given at a photo shoot out of politeness. When he said to his wife, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”, she replied, “There’s your next Alka-Seltzer commercial”.

The commercial won a CLIO Award, and its tagline quickly became a popular catchphrase.

One of Terry Kiser’s acting roles was playing comedian Vic Hitler in the television series Hill Street Blues. Vic was known as “Vic the Narcoleptic Comic”, which seems a bit similar to Jackson being “Narcoleptic Nate”. Lorelai nicknamed Dean “Narcolepsy Boy” after he fell asleep with Rory at Miss Patty’s, so it seems like an insult she likes to dish out.

Drum Set

SOPHIE: That’s a DW drum set with Zildjian cymbals.

This is the drum set that Lane tries out. DW stands for Drum Workshop, a drum kit manufacturing business in Oxnard, California, founded in 1972 by music teacher Don Lombardi and his student, John Good. Although Lombardi had only intended the drum-making to help cover the costs of running a music teaching studio, demand was so great that it soon became his primary business.

Famous drummers who use DW drum kits include Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Grohl from Nirvana and Foo Fighters, Scott Travis from Judas Priest, and Nick Mason from Pink Floyd.

The Avedis Zildjian Company, or Zildjian, is the largest cymbal and drumstick maker in the world. It was founded in Constantinople by Avedis Zildjian, an Armenian metalsmith and alchemist, in 1623, making it one of the oldest musical instrument manufacturers in the world. Avedis Zildjian made his first cymbals in 1618 while working for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.

The family eventually emigrated to the US, setting up business in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1929. Business began booming in 1964, after Ringo Starr used Zildjian cymbals during The Beatles‘ famous appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show.

At one point, more drummers used Zildjian products than any other brand, and the list of famous customers is extremely long, but does include (besides Ringo Starr), Taylor Hawkins from Foo Fighters, Charlie Watts from The Rolling Stones, Lars Ulrich from Metallica, and Phil Selway from Radiohead.

A DW drum set with Zildjian cymbals like the one Lane tries out would cost at least $1500 today.

Bagel Dogs and Cheese Nips

LORELAI: Oh, gee, since I just ate half a bag of marshmallows, six Pop Tarts, four bagel dogs and a really stale Cheese Nip – yup, it’s brownie time, thanks.

Bagel dogs are hot dog frankfurters wrapped in bagel-style breading or bagel dough before baking it. They are similar to pigs in blankets. They can be sold at fast food stands, or bought frozen from supermarkets.

Cheese Nips were small cheese-flavoured crackers, manufactured by Mondelez International under its brand name Nabisco. They were introduced in 1955 and discontinued in 2020.

Frisbee

JESS: Can we talk about this later?

LUKE: Why, you got a big Frisbee heist going down at six?

A Frisbee is a gliding toy made from moulded plastic that can be used in catching and throwing games. They were invented by Walter Morrison, who got the idea in 1937 when he and his future wife were tossing cake pan back and forth to each other on a beach, when someone offered it to buy it for five times its value.

The first aerodynamically improved plastic discs were manufactured in 1948 by Morrison and his business partner, Warren Francioni and sold as the Whirlo-Way (named after a famous racehorse), then the Flying Saucer, then the Pluto Platter.

In 1957, Morrison sold the rights to Wham-O, whose co-founders Richard Knerr and Arthur Melin called the disc a Frisbee, after the Frisbie Pie Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Frisbie supplied pies to Yale University, and students would throw empty pie tins to each other in a game they called Frisby.

The Frisbee’s real success came in 1964, when Wham-O’s vice president of marketing, Ed Headricks, redesigned the Frisbee to make it more accurate, and promoted it as an organised sport. When Headrick died, he was cremated and his ashes moulded into memorial discs. The Frisbee was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 1998.