January 15, 2009

"You see, their young enter through the ears and wrap themselves around the cerebral cortex."

"This has the effect of rendering the victim extremely susceptible to suggestion. Later, as they grow, follows madness and death. These are pets, of course. Not quite domesticated."

These pets were the Ceti eels, and I am tormented with regret that I came so close but missed a beautiful chime yesterday. I love when a theme, character, or image that appears in one post recurs in another post on the same day. Yesterday — a day when I should have been highly attuned to the distinctive pleasures of blogging, because it was the 5th anniversary of the blog — a notable animal appeared: the eel. I made an "eels" tag to honor it, and saw that there were only 3 other posts that had been visited by the elusive eel — in all these 5 years.

As the blogging day drew to a close, I memorialized 2 actors — I called them "iconic TV actors" — who had died. One of them was Ricardo Montalban. When I think of Ricardo Montalban, I think of "Fantasy Island".... I mean right after I think of rich Corinthian leather....

But, in the comments, it became clear that my readers thought of "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." Cedarford said: "They gave Ricardo some great villain lines. All time classic villain lines." He listed some quotes, and one was what I used to begin this post.

In the comments, I express my delight at the reappearance of the eel: "Wait! There are eels?!! I started today with eels. This blogging thing is so spooky." I heard the chime, but I didn't sound it on the front page. The chime must be noted on the front page or else.

Not Althouse asks: Or else what?

Are you kidding? Didn't you notice? Else is an anagram for eels. Or else: eels!

Eels! Eels! Eels! Eeeeeeeeeeeels!

Did I choose the German version because I loved the German title "Der Zorn des Khan," reminiscent of the title of my second favorite movie of all time? No, I'm sorry I couldn't find the scene in English, and it's pretty cool in German, and in any case, the eels have only body language.


rhhardin said...

The whistles on trains are called chimes, usually sounding a diminished 7th so as not to seem cheerful.

Hoosier Daddy said...


traditionalguy said...

The video of montalban's Chrysler Cordoba commercial made me think of the recent movie Anchorman, which has no eels, but does hilariously show Feminists how much fun they are missing since the 1970's era is Gone with the Wind.

Tibore said...

"On Earth, two hundred years ago, I was a prince with power over millions... "

That man could take the most ridiculous lines and deliver them with the utmost sincerity. And make you believe in the character.

And Nimoy reports that, in STIIWOK (Star Trek 2, Wrath of Khan), those were indeed Montalban's pecs. Not a prosthetic. The man was really well preserved at that age.

There's also another story, about his involvement with the Spy Kids franchise. Roberto Rodriguez personally arrived at his home to ask him to be part of the movies. A bystander on the set said that it was amazing; you see, Montalban had a spinal condition that eventually rendered him to a wheelchair in the last part of his life, and was painful besides. The bystander said that every time Rodriguez called for Action, Montalban was able to put away the pain and act out his scene like he was feeling nothing. Montalban in return explained this by joking that his brain could only do one thing at a time.

He was a great actor, and a great movie star. Not a mere celebrity or anything like that, but one of the last of the grand dukes of old Hollywood.

I think I need to look up some of his past, non ST, non-Fantasy Island roles. I recall he was actually powerful in that ridiculous Planet of the Apes sequel he was in, and that wasn't much of a movie in that franchise. I need to see some of his classic roles.

Ron said...

The eel was the top of the food chain in classical Athens, and football is still at the top of classical American sports, and that German title reminded me of the great quarteback Jim Zorn, because how many times before 9AM do you hear the word "Zorn" in any language?

Yeah, I'm gettin' this blogging thing...

ricpic said...

In Spanish the emphasis when saying Cordoba is on the first syllable, CORdoba. The only reason I know this is that Montalban was once interviewed about the commercial and he said that there had been a disagreement between himself and the executives at Chrysler as to how to pronounce the word, the Chrysler execs maintaining that CorDOba would be more comfortable to the American ear. Obviously they won.

The rule of Lemnity said...

the eels have only body language

Not the shrieking eels from The Princess Bride.

Do you know what that sound is, Highness? Those are the shrieking eels! If you don't believe me, just wait. They always grow louder when they're about to feed on human flesh!

Tibore said...

You guys haven't seen eel until you've seen Iron Chef do eel!

Battle Eel

Mark O said...

What about Ernie Els? How does he figure into this madness?

Wince said...

I suppose if we discovered that the creatures in Khan were earwigs, not eels, we'd be discussing the fact that in Naked Gun Montalban's villainous character was named Vincent Ludwig.

Isn't Ludwig German? Quick, inspect his "loaves."

Moose said...

My dad owned a Cordoba. There was a good 2.5 feet between the front grille and the radiator. Plenty of space for smuggling... Actors.

Richard Dolan said...

Given the target audience for any Chrysler product, especially 20+ years ago, it was quite a ballsy marketing move to use an Hispanic-themed ad campaign. "Soft Corinthian leather" (sounds Greek but who knows) or luxury of any kind might not have been the average Chrysler customer's association with the Hispanic/Moorish stuff that Cordoba, let alone Montalban, called to mind.

So were the ad guys out to lunch or ahead of their time? And wasn't that around the time that Chrysler was heading into the tank, before they came up with the K-car, the minivan and the first big-time federal bailout?

Bissage said...

Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh in “Space Seed” reminded me too much of that guy who used to bang my mother while Dad was at work.

Unknown said...

The use of ceti eel larvae clearly constitutes torture. We should be ashamed to glorify this activity here in this forum.

Ron said...

Ricardo Montalban as Khan Noonien Singh in “Space Seed” reminded me too much of that guy who used to bang my mother while Dad was at work.

uhhh...not so wonderful, Bissage!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Ah the 1970's Chryslers. Popular with lowriders everywhere today.

The actual target market might not have been exactly what the company envisioned. however, with a resale value today of about 3 to 5K and a "done" vehicle (with airbags, pneumatics, neon lights and all the other bells and whistles) going for at least 12 to 18 K the have held up pretty well as an investment.

Bissage said...

[U]hhh...not so wonderful, Bissage!

No it wasn’t, Ron. No it wasn't.

But it was a long time ago and a lot of people had childhoods more screwed up than my own. Oh, well. WHADDAYAGONNADO?!

The thing of it is . . . I’ve always had this weird, unreasoning hatred for Ricardo Montalban but I never realized why until today.


Sometimes I find that visiting here at Althouse is kind of . . . ah . . . therapeutic.

sonicfrog said...

Funny that that was considered a "small" Chrysler in it's day. I think you could fit three Toyota Yaris's into it, with a smart-car in the trunk to boot.

Bissage, I think that guy was banging my best friends mom too... But then again, who wasn't.

Chip Ahoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chip Ahoy said...

Your Ricardo Montalbán, your movie lore, and your eel knowledge are impressive, and I am duly impressed.

I am also impressed with the dubbing in that video, why, it's as if Montalbán himself is speaking German! And that is rare in the world of dubbing.

Cedarford said...

When I was a young kid, I went fishing for flounder off Cape Cod in an aluminum rowboat, with my sister and younger brother. Near a small creek. I was barely 10.
We had caught two flounder when my sister caught something big, rod bent over. She hauled up and next thing there was this slimy huge writhing ball of 4 feet and 10 pounds of serpentine something suddenly in the boat.
She jumped in the water, my younger brother jumped, I was last. My brother was bobbing helplessly in a puffy orange life vest our Mom made him wear and howling the snake might have bit him. I hauled him to shore, inspired by the movie PT109 that always ran in November, back when Kennedy's death was a big thing that was commemorated.
The snake struggled to get out of the boat and likely attack and bite us. It made loud tinny thumps and we could see the boat shake. We swam fast about 150 yards on the Bay side to shore, swam in screaming, and attracted a small crowd. My brother was not bitten.

My Dad was there in moments and went with a guy to get the boat back as someone said it was not a snake but a "harmless eel".

But is wasn't so harmless.

I was pissed at not being a hero, dragging my brother to safety hundreds of yards through dangerous snake-infested water - but one of what the crowd consensus was believed to be 3 stupid kids that "abandoned their boat, and could have drowned" And, because it was so entangled in our abandoned fishing gear and still writhing around they had to kill it. There was eel slime everywhere on gear, the bottom of the boat, it was a rental,and we had to clean the slime off. One flounder was also undersized and thrown back.

It WAS a big eel, as big around as Dad's forearm. He wanted to pose my sister with it. She was scared of eel fangs, and refused.

The worst was the lecture from Mom & Dad about always eating what you kill. Dad was not deterred when I mentioned we never ate the cat he hit on the road 6 months before.

So we had eel for dinner. It was like waiting for our eel doom all over again. It wasn't bad, they said...us kids barely touched it. Luckily, it was the 70s, before "quality time with the kids" was invented and we were able to sneak away, walk about a mile and eat lots of ice cream for our real dinner at a "Cape Cod Creamery".

Later we both envied sis for catching "a huge fish" and maintained that us boys wouldn't have ever pulled it on boat, preventing the ensuing fiasco "she caused".

The obligatory "eel photo" was taken, with my sister looking both dutiful in posing next to Dad holding it next to her -and repulsed by the idea of eel slime and eel fangs.
It looked like her obligatory "1st date" photo a few years later, where she was again both dutiful and repulsed with the critter next to her. No doubt dripping with boy slime and having fangs, but all the "cool girls" had to have one to go to the school dance. (As I remember now, I knew him a little and he wasn't that bad a guy, but he did laugh through his nose with his mouth shut, something sis found especially digusting. Especially when she stated slime was indeed ejected when he laughed late into her "First Date". And last date with the kid..)

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Cedarford, that was the best writing that you have ever posted.

I especially like the comparison to the eel and first date photo.

LordSomber said...

"The use of ceti eel larvae clearly constitutes torture."

• So I guess "eel boarding" is out?

• "Ludwig" is cognate with "Louis."

• The Cordoba rode smooth, but I remember maroon velour, not that Corinthian jazz...

Wait -- Corinthian Jazz?

blake said...

But was is not Montalban who coined the "rich Corinthian leather" phrase?

The original copy was just "rich leather", and he added "Corinthian" in there, yes?

Or so I recall hearing.