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Actor Allusion: My 10 favourite examples!

Updated on February 7, 2012

What is Actor Allusion?

For those who don't know what Actor Allusion is, it is like an in joke, an irony or reference which is specific to one of the actors in a television show or film. , For example, when a character or characters make reference to another character they have acted as or meet another actor they have acted with and there is usually a play-on words resulting in an allusion to another film or TV show they have been in.

I have included my 10 favourite examples of character allusion in no particular order other than numerical, for you you to see and enjoy. Maybe you can remember some of your own examples of this.

First up at # 1:

Al & Peg-esque reunion.

For a long time I have been a fan of the hit TV sitcom Married With Children. I love the Bundy's and none more so than Al Bundy himself. They were the most non-politically correct dysfunctional family on TV. Al Bundy was the man, that is why he is included in My Top 10 Sarcastic TV characters. So, it was an awesome tribute to the character of Al and Peg Bundy to see the actors (Ed O'Neil and Katey Sagal) together again on the TV series 8 Simple Rules (For Dating My Teenage Daughter), in the Episode: 'Old Flame'. Katey Sagal plays Cate as the main mother character in the show.

Cate (Katey Sagal) sends an email to a former college flame Matt (Ed O'Neill) an "Al Bundy-esque" guy whom Cate remembers fondly, to see how he's been doing over the years, But she's shocked when Matt shows up at her window and whisks her off to re-live some adventurous, old times - then she begins to question if his rebel lifestyle is just a front.

The fact that both of them played husband and wife in the comedy sitcom Married with Children makes this episode a classic! Both appeared to be having a Bundy-ish reunion.

# 2:

The Twiki [Brooks] Bugs connection.

Some may not be aware that Twiki the robot from Buck Rogers is voiced by Mel Blanc, who is famous mostly for his voice role of Bugs Bunny with the famous line "Yeah, what's up Doc?" As Twiki he says: "Budi, budi, budi , budi, what's up Buck?" A clear play on words and tribute to Brooks being the voice of both using a verbal variation on a theme.

# 3:

The Rambo Mock!

Stallone mocks his own Rambo character! In the first scene of Tango and Cash, we have Tango (Stallone) saying "Rambo is a pussy." And we all know who plays Rambo? (no other than Sylvester Stallone himself). A classic case of character allusion where an actor playing one character alludes to another he has played before.

# 4:

Benedict / "Face" (A-team) Cylon anomaly

On an episode of The A-Team,Templeton "Faceman" Peck reacts to a Cylon (from Battlestar Galactica) walking passed him on the street. The actor who portrayed Face, Dirk Benedict, also played Starbuck on TV series Battlestar Galactica. (This shot was used in the Title Sequence montage for one season.) He looks at the Cylon with an ironic and confused look while pointing his finger as to say "wait a minute..."? Classic Twilight Zone moment.

As you can see to the left I have included the image sequence of the Cyclon walking past from top to bottom. I thought it was a rather clever idea to include this character allusion to the A-team intro. I love the expression on Benedict's "Face", pun intended!

I have included a YouTube link of the actual scene below...

Video clip of the Cylon passing Face scene

# 5

Just the "Good Ol Boys"again

I used to love Bo and Luke Duke in the General Lee racing rings around Roscoe in the back roads of Hazzard County. It was a nice touch when I saw the boys together again in one of my recent favourite shows Smallville.

In the Smallville episode "Exposed," Tom Wopat (who played Luke Duke) guest stars as Jake Jennings, an old friend of Jonathan's who arrives in a Dodge Charger similar to the General Lee, kicking off a number of homages to The Dukes Of Hazzard throughout the episode.(Tom Wopat also mentioning Chickasaw county which was the county that they weren’t allowed in because of their probation

In another episode of Smallville called "Nicodemus," Jonathan Kent is listening to Waylon Jennings' "The Good Ol' Boys" (the theme song of The Dukes Of Hazzard) while driving in his truck.

Both these episodes of Smallville have made references to The Dukes Of Hazzard, a nod to John Schneider (who plays Jonathan Kent) having played Bo Duke. It was so good to see them again in the same type of car, same "Duke" style attitude and driving like the good old days in Hazzard County!

# 6:

Time Travelling Phrase

Scott Bakula (who played Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap, another great science fiction TV series), shows up as Chuck and Ellie's father on the TV series Chuck, and when Ellie angrily reprimands him harshly for the night he abandoned them, he replies "Oh boy," Bakula's catchphrase from Quantum Leap, especially after he has just jumped through time into an awkward predicament.

# 7:

Two Hulk or not two Hulk

In the 2003 Hulk film (starring Eric Bana in the role of Banner), Lou Ferrigno played a security guard (alongside Hulk's creator Stan Lee), and in The Incredible Hulk (the 2008 movie starring Edward Norton as Banner), he voiced the Hulk (as well as playing another security guard). Ferrigno played the Hulk in the 1978-'82 live-action TV series (that starred Bill Bilxby as Banner).

Stan Lee and Lou Ferigno as security guards in the 2003 Hulk film.
Stan Lee and Lou Ferigno as security guards in the 2003 Hulk film.

# 8:

Home Improvement "Buzz"

In episode of Home Improvement when Tim "the tool-man" Taylor was arguing with his brother,(one of those "is too / is not" kind of arguments) and it got down to... "Is too times 100!", "Is not times a thousand!", Tim defeated his brother's "to infinity!" with "to infinity and beyond!", the Catch Phrase of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story (whom he voiced ofcourse).

# 9:

MacGyver's Gate

In the Science Fiction TV series Stargate SG-1 (another personal favourite of this author) there is a scene in the pilot "Children of the Gods", where Captain Samantha Carter explains to Colonel Jack O'Neill (played by Richard Dean Anderson the actor who played MacGyver) that "It took us fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a way to power the gate."

# 10:

The "Cage- Beige-Volvo" Gag

Three of the films Nicholas Cage's stars in have a running gag about a Volvo, and not just any Volvo, a Beige one at that. The three films are, The Rock, Con Air, and Face/Off .

In The Rock, Nicolas Cage explains to Sean Connery that he drives a beige Volvo.

In Con Air, Nicholas Cage cuts Dave Chappelle's body loose from the plane, and it crashes onto a beige Volvo.

In Face/Off, Nicholas Cage escapes from the oil rig prison and steals a beige Volvo.

And So...

There are of course lot's more of these character allusions, but these are among my favourites. I really enjoy all these in-jokes, gags, allusions and little tributes in TV and on Film.

Another fun thing to watch out for are popular film tropes or hidden eggs (like when films deliberately hide stuff in their films relating to other films of theirs.) Pixar are one for that and their re a few in the Alien films franchises) But they are for another hub for another time. Hope you enjoyed these little gems.


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    • cbl12 profile image


      6 years ago

      Never mind that I could not stand Twiki, and I mean no offence to those who like him, he just somehow got on my wick, I do think Mel Brooks is great, and have enjoyed much of his films - especially Blazing Saddles - in a way filled with this in joke and violation of the fourth wall kind of stuff. I do not know also whether anyone recalls an episode of Starsky and Hutch in which someone asks Hutch if he thinks he is Dirty Harry. In addition to David Soul having been one of the Vigilante cops along with the late Robert Urich in Magnum Force, there was another episode of the show in which they had to deal with a vigilante cop gang similar to theo ne in Magnum Force, in much the same way that the late Dana Elcar was involved in a MacGyver episode ( with Vic Tayback, who died not long after ), which resembled the plot of the Sting, in which of course he played the con man pretending to be FBI Special Agent Polk.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for the vote up and glad you enjoyed it.

    • sarcasticool profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Amazing what you can learn on here ;) You may like that show, very cleverly made. It used to have John Ritter (Three's Company)as the father in it but when he passed away the show went in a different direction for a while but all the characters were good in it. have a look and see what you think :) Thanks for your comments.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      6 years ago from East Coast

      I never knew that Mel Brooks voice was used for Twiki. My favorite sitcom of all time is Married With Children. The actors were all spot on and hilarious. Now I have to google 8 Simple Rules because I've never watched that one.

    • alipuckett profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome hub! Voted up. I'm a Mel Brooks movie fan, and I can't believe I never knew he was the voice of Bugs Bunny!


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