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The National Geographic as a Cultural Fixture (Part 2)

The National Geographic has been around for a long time. It has been popular for a long time as well. This being the case it is not surprising that the National Geographic shows up in many aspects of our culture. I have decided to show a few examples from various, diverse cultural expressions.

IV. Movies (cont.):

In the 1973 crime drama "Badlands" set in 1959, there is a cameo by a National Geographic.

After killing her father (Warren Oats), Kit Carruthers (play by Martin Sheen) and Holly Sargis (played by Sissy Spacek) go on the lam and build a treehouse in the woods.

In one scene Kit sits in a crow's nest at the top of the treehouse, browsing through a copy of National Geographic.  Amused by what he sees, looking around to find somebody to share it with.


In one scene of the 1973 drama "Save The Tiger", a film about moral conflict in contemporary America, the main character Harry Stoner (played by Jack Lemmon) is having a discussion with a free spirited girl hitchhiker:

"I really hate zoos.  Those animals are miserable.  I saw this National Geographic about lions and tigers...  How they return to a place of remembered beauty.  That's how they catch them."


Another cameo came in the 1975 movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest".

Two National Geographic Magazines can be seen on a shelf where McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is announcing a baseball game.  They are the August 1960 and the February 1961 issues.


Another popular movie with a reference to the National Geographic is the 1975 thriller "Jaws".  After a shark had been caught, the mayor Larry Vaughn (played by Murray Hamilton) is arguing with the oceanographer Matt Hooper (played by Richard Dreyfuss).  Hooper insists their is another, larger shark still out there.  One he calculates to be seventeen feet long.

Vaughn growls, "No shark grows seventeen feet, for Christ's sake."

To which Hooper replies, "The famous Swedish naturalist Linnaeus believed that the 'great fish' that swallowed Jonah was not a whale, but a great white shark."

Vaughn then snaps back, "Love to prove that, wouldn't you?  Get into the National Geographic."


In the 1977 American horror movie "The Crater Lake Monster" there is a cameo of a supplement map from the May 1966 National Geographic Magazine.  It is of Northern California and appears in the County Sherriff's on the wall behind his desk.  It is from a double map (Southern California is the flip-side) and is the third and last map in the U. S. Atlas Series.


"The Deep" (1977)


In the 1977 French film "Un Taxi Mauve" ("The Purple Taxi") there is this query and response:

"These stories that Taubelman tells... is it true we met in Morocco?"

"No, he read your article in National Geographic."


The 1980 Italian horror movie "Cannibal Holocaust" is indirectly related.  Its creator stated in an interview that he got the idea for this movie after reading an article in a National Geographic.  It was the first film in the genre of "found footage' movies later made popular by "The Blair Witch Project".  In it a NGS-like expedition to the Amazon disappears and a search & rescue party is sent in after them.


"On Golden Pond" (1981)


In the 1982 horror movie "Creepshow" there is this wager:

"I'm willing to bet that crate... is full of National Geographics or back issues the Reader's Digest."

"The date on it says 1834.  Did they publish a Reader's Digest way back then?"


In the 1982 horror movie "Cat People"  there is a cameo of a stack of National Geographics:


The 1983 movie, "Valley Girls" has a scene with two girls discussing male penile sizes in Hollywood.  Stacey (played by Heidi Holicker) asks her friend: "What's the biggest one you've ever seen?"

Unaware that the magazine actively avoided genitalia, both male and female, her friend Julie (played by Deborah Holicker) counter-queries: "Like in the National Geographic, or what?"

To which Stacey replies: "No, in your hand."


In the prelude of the 1983 horror film "Twilight Zone: The Movie" two men are driving down a lonely country road at night playing a game of "Name That Tune" to TV show themes.  The driver's is played by Albert Brooks and the passenger is played by Dan Aykroyd.  It is the drivers turn:

Driver: "Alright?  How about this one?  Ba-da-dah-DAH-da.  Ba-da dah-Hoo-Dah-da-DAH-da dah.  Know it?  Ba-da-dah-DAH-da.  Look-at-that-fos-sil / It's stuck over there in-the-tar (Boom Boom) / Look-at-that-OLD-man / He-looks-like-an-old-ape (BOOM BOOM).  What is it?"

Passenger: "....No..."

D: "Look-at-that-OLD-bone / It-could-be-worth-some-bucks (Boom Boom).  What is it?"

P: "Mmmm.  I really don't know."

D: (Singing) "Look-at-those-TWO-apes / This-must-be-where-they-live (Boom Boom) / Look-at-that-ci-ty / Let's-con-ti-nue-to-dig (Boom Boom)."

P: "I REALLY don't know."

D: "It's National Geographic."

P: "Huh..."


P: "Okay.  Alright."


In the 1983 comedy "The First Turn-on!!" there are these pleas:

"If I ever get out of here, I'll never eat junk food again."

"If I ever get out of here, I'll change my subscription from Penthouse to National Geographic.  I promise."

"I don't want to die a virgin."


"A Time to Die" (1983)


During the opening credits to the 1984 adventure movie "Romancing the Stone", a stack of National Geographic magazines can be seen in Joan Wilder's (Kathleen Turner) bathroom.

Later in the credits, a set of National Geographics on a shelf in Joan's living room are shown from multiple angles.

Later in the movie, after Joan's apartment is ransacked, National Geographics can be seen scattered among the mess.


In the 1984 movie "Birdy" there is this portion of a larger discussion on breasts:

"Women carry them around their whole lives.  Flopping around, getting in the way."

"They don't get in the way.  They're needed.  They're necessary."

"I seen a picture in National Geographic.  Just like a cow, but in a more stupid place."

"It's not like a cow at all."


In the 1984 comedy "Making the Grade" there is this exchange:

" A National Geographic film?"

" They told me it was a National Geographic-kids."


In the 1984 movie "American Dreamer" there is this line:

"Because he's seen naked women in National Geographic."


In "Beverly Hills Cop", a comedy-drama released on December 1, 1984, Zack, a henchman, played by Jonathan Banks, sits in his boss's office reading a National Geographic magazine in this screen-grab:


In the 1985 adventure/comedy "The Jewel of the Nile" there is the following scene:  After escaping into the desert from the tyrant Omar, Joan (played by Kathleen Turner) and Jack (played by Michael Douglas) encounter Nubians.  Jack smoothly goes: "Main man, my man!"

Noticing him grinning, Joan queries: "What are you so happy about?"

To which Jack replies: "Just keep smiling.  Maybe they'll think we're from National Geographic."


In the 1985 sci-fi/comedy "Explorers" there is a triple map cameo.  On the back wall of a classroom you can clearly see three National Geographic supplement maps: The Heavens (Dec. 1957), The Moon (Feb. 1969), and Mars (Feb. 1973).


There is a reference to National Geographic near the end of the 1985 Japanese movie "Chikan densha: Shanai de ippatsu" ("Molester Train 30").


A  5th edition National Geographic Atlas of the World has a cameo in a scene in the 1985 James Bond movie "A View to a Kill".  (Note: This cameo is courtesy of Scott Shier.)


The 1986 Neil Simon film "Brighton Beach Memories" is a coming-of-age movie focusing on 15-year old Eugene Morris Jerome (played by Jonathan Silverman) who is experiencing puberty.

Eugene dreams about all women from the neighbor he spies on to the naked Africans in National Geographic, as Simon interweaves his lust as a running gag.


In the 1986 drama "Just Between Friends" (Mary Tyler Moore, Ted Danson) there is this line:

"A little National Geographic stuff?"


"That's Life" (1986)


A copy of the Geographic can be seen on a table in the 1987 SciFi  Comedy Innerspace.  Credit for this find and image goes to Juan Carlos Herrera del Castillo.



The following is an excerpt from a study guide for the book that is the basis of the 1988 drama "Gorillas in the Mist".  It sets the context for the scene much better than I could.

"Fossey (played by Sigourney Weaver) connects with a number of the members of the various groups over the years, some who tend to look to Fossey and the other human observers as sources of entertainment. Some of them find Fossey's possessions interesting, and Fossey once hands a gorilla a National Geographic magazine in an effort to keep the youngster entertained without touching her camera or camera lenses.  She is amazed that the youngster looks at the pictures but seems to hold a grudge for having been pacified with the magazine."


The following is a description of the 'waiting room' scene from the 1988 comedy "BeetleJuice":

"Calypso style elevator music seems to be droning quietly in the background as several people that look suspiciously like zombies sit reading magazines or in some cases copies of cloth bound book.  The room is run down and dirty, the most unpleasant waiting room they had ever been in.  The 50's furniture is fraying and in some cases being propped up by stacks of old phone books.  There are old ashtrays with dirty sand, National Geographic Magazines with their covers missing.  The linoleum is patched in a hundred places.

Directly across from the entrance is a receptionist's window.  She is in a tight fitting, bullet-breasted top that is either part of an unusual evening gown or a one piece swimsuit, however her legs are not visible it is difficult to tell.  Her flaming red hair, red lipstick and rather green complexion makes for an interesting contrast.  She's wearing a ribbon across her breast reading 'MISS ARGENTINA'."


"Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989)


Still another movie that make a passing reference to the National Geographic is the 1990 comedy/horror movie "Tremors".  After the monsters are dead and the road out of town repaired, Val (played by Kevin Bacon) and Earl (played by Fred Ward) are finishing repairing their truck.

Earl exclaims: "Road's in!"

Val repeats: "Road's in!" and then continues: "Now, soon as we hit Bixby we start making phone calls.  We could make some real money off this whole thing, get in People Magazine..."

Earl then retorts: "People?  Hell, National Geographic."


"Joe vs. the Volcano" (1990)


In the 1990 movie "Texasville" there is this line:

"Like these plants I read about in National Geographic."


In the 1991 comedy "Delerious" there is this conversation:

"Then I went to Africa.  [Africa?  Where did that come from?]  For the last two years I've lived there with a colony of ants."

"You lived with ants?"

"I do research.  I chart everything they do.  Social organization, their organization, their mating habits."

Oh, I see.  Like one of those National Geographic special."

"No, I'll never be one of those.  My friend Manu says I'm not big enough.  I don't have gorillas like Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall with her precious chimp.  Right.  See no one cares about ants."


In the 1991 Australian coming of age comedy (Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts) there is this:

"Look, I know body language, and her's says 'give me'."

"They can be pretty, you know, desperate, these black women.  Look at National Geographic."


In the 1993 crime drama "A Perfect World" starring Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood, and set in 1963 Texas, there is a cameo of a National Geographic Magazine.  It appears in the farmhouse of a couple being terrorized by an escaped convict (Costner).  Costner's character is shot and stumbles to a dresser.  An April 1963 issue appears on top of the dresser.


In the 1993 zombie romance "My Boyfriend's Back" there is this line:

"The one's I'll be reading about in the National Geographic."


The following is a scene from the 1994 prison movie "The Shawshank Redeption".  The scene is set in 1949; the location is the Shawshank Prison Library.  Brooks leads Andy into the bleakest backroom of all.  Rough plank shelves are lined with books.  Brooks' private domain.

Brooks: "Here she is, the Shawshank Prison library.  Along this side, we got National Geographic.  That side, the Readers Digest Condensed books.  Bottom shelf there, some Louis L'Amours and Erle Stanley Gardners.  Every night I pile the cart and make my rounds.  I write down the names on this clipboard here.  Well that's it.  Easy peasy, Japanesey.  Any questions?"

Andy: "Brooks?  How long have you been librarian?"

Brooks: "Since 1912.  Yuh, over 37 year."


In the 1994 comedy "Serial Mom" there is this courtroom scene:

"Detective Gracey, if I were to look through your trash, what reading material would I find?"

"Objection!  Immaterial!"

"You may answer."

"Time, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic.  My wife gets Ladies Home Journal."


The 1995 movie "The Bridges of Madison County" tells the story of a National Geographic photojournalist, Robert Kincaid (played by Clint Eastwood), who has an affair with a lonely housewife (played by Meryl Streep) while on assignment photographing covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa.


Another 1995 movie, "Waterworld" has a cameo of sorts.  After escaping in a boat from Deacon (played by Dennis Hopper) and his armada of Smokers, The Mariner (played by Kevin Cosner), Enola (played by Tina Majorino), and her guardian Helen (played by Jeanne Triplehorn) spy another boat.  Helen loudly says that they may be able to trade with the man for food and they stop to talk to him. The man turns out to be somewhat paranoid and neurotic and, at first, wants to trade some sheets of paper for sex with Enola.

He says: "Wait wait, wait wait.  I do have somethin' that you can't pass on.  I took it off an Atoller refugee camp.  The life savings of an entire clan.  Paper.  Have you ever seen paper?  Look at it.  Smell it.  I've been saving it for a special trade."

Helen and the Mariner refuse but then Helen agrees to have sex with the man below decks. The Mariner reads the sheets of paper, which are pages from a National Geographic Magazine and are strikingly similar to pictures that Enola had been drawing, indicating that she's been on Dryland. The Mariner negates the deal with the drifter for sex, rescuing Helen. When the man tries to fight his host, the Mariner kills him and salvages items from his boat.

Here are the fake NGM covers used as movie props:


There is a cameo by a National Geographic in the 1995 drama "Apollo 13".  Astronaut Ken Mattingly (played by Gary Sinise) is awaken in the middle of the night and informed of the explosion on the spacecraft.  On the nightstand beside him is the iconic December 1969 issue covering the Apollo 11 mission.


In the 1995 movie "Before Sunrise" there is this exchange:

"Think about it like this.  Why is it that a dog sleeping in the sun... is so beautiful?"

"It is.  It's beautiful."

"But a guy taking money from a bank machine... looks like a complete moron."

"So it's like a National Geographic program, but on people?"



The 1996 animated movie "James and the Giant Peach" tells the story of a boy, James Henry Trotter (voiced by Paul Terry), who travels from England to New York City in a giant peach with several anthropomorphic bugs.  One, Mr, Centipede (voiced by Richard Dreyfuss), falls asleep while steering and they wind up in the Arctic.  He had claimed to have traveled around the world.  When challenged on this by the other bugs, James comes to his defense saying: "If he says he's seen the world, he's seen the world.  Right, Mr. Centipede?  Right?"

To which Mr. Centipede replies: "Well... I did used to live between two pages of a National Geographic."

James says: "Huh?"

Mr. Centipede continues: "Very informative magazine, National Geographic.  Wonderful pictures."


In the 1997 comedy remake of "Leave It to Beaver" there is this idea:

Hey, we got an hour and a half to kill till practice is over.  Wanna go to the library?"

"Okay.  We can look at that National Geographic... with the native girls of Chluaga."



"Flubber" (1997)


In the 1997 movie "Breast Men", about the two doctors who invented breast implants, there is this line:

"These women with National Geographic boobs drooping around their waist."


In the 1998 movie "Paulie" there is this plan for fame:

"This will change everything.  I'm telling you he is the most extraordinary creature I have ever encountered."

"Yeah, well, I have grant committees from N.I.H. and the N.S.F.  Some guy from the National Geographic is talking about a special."


There is a brief mention of "National Geographic specials" in the 1998 comedy "My Giant".


In the 1998 action movie "U. S. Marshall", starring Tommy Lee Jones and Wesley Snipes, there is a fight scene in a room at an assisted living facility that is full of National Geographic magazines.  This image shows just a few of them:


The 2000 rescue/adventure movie "Vertical Limit" has another reference to National Geographic.  Three years after his father's death in a climbing accident, Peter Garrett (played by Chris O'Donnell) has quit climbing and is now a wildlife photographer for National Geographic.  He arrives in Pakistan on assignment and is greeted by Colonel Amir Salim (played by Roshan Seth).

"Would you like a tea?"

"No, I'm fine"

"You must try the tea.  It's very good.  Indian, of course.  We may be at war with them, but their tea's the best.  Forgive me.  Mr. Garrett, isn't it?"


"National Geographic is always welcome.  The only westerners come to Pakistan without conquering something."


In the 2000 film "100 Girls" there is this monologue:

"The dorm was empty.  Except for Dora.  She never had anywhere to go on Saturday night.  I did have to admit I've seen cuter girls in National Geographic."


In the 2000 movie "Better Than Sex" there is this exchange:

"Sam produces TV documentaries."

"All Right."

"What do you do?"

"Josh is a wildlife photographer."


"Yeah, yeah.  I work for National Geographic and that sort of thing."

"Ever thought of doing any live action?"

"Yeah, yeah, but I kind of like to work alone."


"Pay It Forward" (2000)


In the 2000 comedy "The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps" there is this scene:

"Mama, your dress is undone.  Let me zip you up."

"Hurry.  Zip her up the back before she starts looking... like one of them Zulu hags on the cover of National Geographic."

"Clesius, what's wrong with you?  That's my mother."

"Like that movie, Shaka Zulu."


"Proof of Life" (2000)


The 2001 comedy/drama "The Royal Tenenbaums" has a Nat Geo collection cameo.  The family matriarch, Etheline (played by Anjelica Huston), is both an archaeologist and a tax expert.  Her study has shelves that alternate between rows of National Geographic Magazines and bound tax tables.


"Nobody's Baby" (2001)


There is a National Geographic collection cameo in the 2002 comedy "Snow Dogs":


In the 2002 horror movie "Killer Bees!" there is this:

"I'd say Sumas has a killer bee problem and a pretty serious one."

"I read about them in National Geographic.  They've got the regular sting of a bee but they're 10 times more aggressive, is that about right?"

"That's right."


In the 2002 movie "Sniper 2" there is this admission:

"I must have read every AAA travel guide and National Geographic ever printed.  I spent a lot of time reading travel books and shit in prison."


"To keep the dream alive."


In the 2002 cartoon movie "Daria in 'Is It College Yet?'" there is this reference to "The Bridges of Madison County":

"Um, Janet, about the wedding, well, um, you see... there's not going to be a wedding, so you can dig your talons into the flesh of some other prey."


"You heard him."

"Uh, you see, Janet, it's not that you wouldn't make a very desirable life partner..."

"All right then, Mr. Gigolo, you hear this: if there's no wedding, then that's it.  It's over, buster.  We will never play farmwife  and Nation Geographic photographer again."


In the 2002 crime drama "Empire" there is this monologue:

"National Geographic should do a special on us.  F**k Bosnia.  I mean this city, man.  'Cause we got invisible but well-known boundaries here.  Different ways of life, different rules, but no mixing."


In the 2002 movie "Wah-Wah" there is this line:

"It's like National Geographic - only better."


During the 2002 stand-up comedy movie "Robin Williams: Live on Broadway" the comedian says this:

"When I was growing up I didn't have Playboy or Penthouse.  Sad for me!"

"But I did have National Geographic, and the girls that got me crazy..."

"You know the ones with the slinky necks going..."


In the 2002 movie "Stark Raving Mad" there is this line:

"...and, you're reading National Geographic?  Come on."


In the 2002 Canadian documentary "The Corporation" there is this, possibly intentional, play on words:

"Today the job of building this nation geographically is complete."


There is a reference in the 2002 Israeli comedy "Hochmat HaBeygale" ("The Wisdom of the Pretzel").  One hour into the movie there is this:

"Cannes, National Geographic, whatever..."


In the 2002 Thai comedy "Sibha Kham Doan Sib Ed" ("Mekhong Full Moon Party') there is this exchange:

"What?  You want your name in National Geographic?"

"National Geographic isn't so bad, is it?"


In the 2003 Woody Allen movie "Anything Else" there is this wish:

"I'd love to take one of those boats down the Amazon.  It's suppose to be so beautiful."

"Not tonight?"

"Of course not tonight.  I was... that's funny.  But how thrilling that would be.  That would be so thrilling."

"You hate heat.  You hate mosquitoes."

"I hate malaria.  It's malaria, remember?  I don't hate all mosquitoes.  I want to see the parrots and the giant butterflies."

"I've seen pictures in National Geographic.  They're gorgeous!"

"Giant, huge... and wild monkeys would be..."

"Monkeys?  How much have you had to drink?"


In the 2003 stand-up comedy film "Eddie Izzard: Sexie" there is this line:

"I've seen a picture in National Geographic!"


In the 2003 Argentinian film "Un Dia en el Paraiso" there are these two (translated) lines:

"In fact, I am a photographer for National Geographic."

And later:

"With National Geographic."


In the 2003 Indian movie "Khwahish" ("Desire") there is this line:

"It's non-pollutant.  I've seen about it on the National Geographic Channel."


In the 2004 movie "I Heart Huckabees" there is this debate:

"You can still have a functional economy and preserve open spaces with little planning."

"Yeah.  Socialism.  Complete disaster."

"Theodore Roosevelt was a socialist?  And Yeats?"

"Theodore Roosevelt."

"Henry David Thoreau, Robinson Jeffers, the National Geographic Society, all socialist?

"You're talking about socialism."

"No, I'm not.  I'm talking about not covering every square inch with houses and strip malls..."


There is this line from the 2004 comedy "Lemony Snicket's a Series of Unfortunate Events":

"And there was a team from National Geographic that were there.  They were filming the

whole thing."


In the 2004 science fiction movie "AVP: Alien vs. Predator" upon reaching a whaling station in Antarctica, the following is said:

"This station was abandoned in 1904.  Everyone disappeared overnight.  It was a big mystery back then.  One for National Geographic."


In the 2004 Israeli movie "Or" ("My Treasure") there is this line:

"National Geographic.  Do you understand what I'm saying?"


In the 2004 Sci-Fi disaster movie "The Day After Tomorrow" collections of National Geographic magazines can be seen on shelves in the background of several scenes.  Note: citation and images provided by Juan Carlos Herrera del Castillo.


In the 2005 animated movie "Madagascar", the animals find themselves stranded on Madagascar with a tribe of lemurs.  Alex, the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), is so hungry that he starts hallucinating, imagining all the other animals are steaks.  His friend Marty, the zebra (voiced by Chris Rock), tries to talk to him.  Alex begins chasing Marty to the theme of the National Geographic Specials (circa 1964).  Just as he's about to catch and eat his friend, Alex is conked on the head with a coconut thrown by the lemur, King Julian (voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen).

In the 2005 superhero movie "The Fantastic Four", there is a National Geographic wall map akin to the December 1988 supplement map of the World located high on the wall in Mr. Fantastic's laboratory.  It is identical to the one shown below.


In the 2005 comedy "The 40 Year Old Virgin" there is this off-color discussion among three guys:

"So what were her titties like?"

"Yeah, describe her..."

"Yeah, she had great tits."

"No, I mean, like, detail.  Did she have, like, you know... them little pink teeny nipples?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Or like the long National Geographic nipples?"


In the 2005 movie "P.S."  there is this exchange:

"If I let him see me now, the girl is gone forever.  She gets replaced by a housewife who's had twins.  I mean you should see my bazooms, Wheeze.  It's like National Geographic over here."

"Oh, come on, Miss.  You always needed a bra."



In the 2005 movie "Campus Confidential" there is this admonishment:

"We're a tabloid, Mokhtar.  You want to print pretty photos of anatomical parts, contact National Geographic."


In the 2005 movie "Lucky 13" there is this line:

"Look, you wanna go on safari, you read National Geographic."


In the 2005 disaster movie "Nature Unleashed: Volcano" there is this line:

"We're taking about the cover of National Geographic."


In the 2005 comedy "Suits on the Loose" there is this reference:

"National Geographic thinks so."


In the 2005 comedy "The Wendell Baker Story" has this line:

"It's Forbes and National Geographic, right?"


In the 2005 Israeli film "Free Zone" starring Natalie Portman there is this query:

"What is this?  National Geographic, or what?"


In the 2005 Indian movie "Kaal" two British nationals are killed by a ferocious tiger in Orbit National Park in India.  This incident follows several other tiger attacks, and many deaths result, prompting National Geographic to send a correspondent, Krish Thapar to the national park and ascertain what really happened.  Quotes include:

"Krish, there is a courier from National Geographic, Washington."

"... according to the findings of the National Geographic."


In the 2006 film "Blood Diamond" there is this exchange at a African border crossing:

"Papers, please."

"Danny Archer, National Geographic."

"You crossing into Liberia?"

"I've got a letter from the Minister of the Interior and a Liberian visa as well.  I'm doing a story on the Marrakaz, who, as you know... are allowed to cross the border in order to get into grazing grounds.  You ever read National Geographic, huh?"


In the 2006 crime-comedy "Littler Man" there is this dialog:

"You know, God gives gifts.  Sometimes he wraps them in a hurry.  Sometimes.  Isn't he a precious gift?"

"Oh, Yeah.  He's adorable... in a National Geographic sort of way.  What is he, a Pygmy?"


In the 2006 animated film "Shark Bait" there is this line:

"She've been on the cover the cover of National Geographic."


In the 2006 British/American documentary "The Bridge" about the Golden Gate Bridge there is this line:

"Like a National Geographic photographer must feel."


In the 2006 Ecuadoran film "Que Tan Lejos" ("How Much Further") there is this line:

"Or would you prefer the National Geographic one."


In the 2007 comedy "Knocked Up" there is the following discussion about looking pregnant:

"I know I look gross."

"No, you look beautiful."

"And my boobs are all, like, squishy, and they're flopping around.  I can feel it, and it's distracting."


"It's all National Geographic".


In the 2007 Hong Kong movie "Por See Yee" ("Trivial Matters") there is this reference:

"... on the National Geographic."


In the 2007 Danish crime drama "Kaerlighed Pa Film" ("Just Another Love Story") there is this line:

"National Geographic.  Reportage.  A little of everything."


In the 2007 Indian movie "Aaja Nachle" ("Come, Let's Dance") there is this:

"He's Steve.  He's from National Geographic Magazine from America.  He's here to take pictures of Indian artists."

"You two should have your photos taken."


In the 2007 Hong Kong martial arts movie "Seung Chi Sun Tau" (Twins Mission") there is this line:

"I watched the documentary of it on the National Geographic Channel."


In the 2007 Tamil musical romance film "Unnale Unnale" ("Because of You") there is this:

"Even yesterday I saw National Geographic Channel."

This movie was later dubbed in the Telugu language as "Neevalle, Neevalle".


In the 2008 Dutch film "Zomerhitte" ("Summer Heat') photographer Bob Griffioen twice introduces himself with the phrase:

"I take pictures for National Geographic."

Later in the movie there is this exchange:

"What about National Geographic?"

"F**k National Geographic."


In the 2008 adventure movie "Nim's Island"  there is this description:

"For a guy who loves nature,  you'd think he'd be more into animals.  When they have more than one cell, Jack sort of loses interest.  Scientist write to him from all over the world... with questions about all sorts of things.  He even writes articles sometimes... like this great one from National Geographic."


In the 2008 movie "Familiar Strangers" there is this query:

"Have you heard from National Geographic Magazine yet?"


In the 2009 science fiction film "Knowing" you'll find this discussion:

"Do you know that all wolves are born deaf?"


"But, you know, when they get older, they can hear another wolf's howl from 10 miles away."

"Wow.  How did you know that?"

"I read it in a National Geographic".


There is this exchange between two women in the 2009 horror flick "The Decent: Part 2":

"Recording for..."

"For National Geographic."

"For National Geographic."


The 2009 Australian stop-motion animated dark comedy "Mary and Max" is about two unlikely pen pals.  Here is the second and third postscripts from one of their letters:

"PPS.  Please find enclosed a frisbee, some chocolate pop rocks, which you should eat with cola, and an illustration of a turtle from one of my National Geographics.

"PPPS.  Did you know that turtles can breath through their anuses?"


In the 2009 Norwegian film "Nord" ("North") there is this line:

"NGC.  National Geographic Channel.  I'm watching that."


Near the beginning of the 2010 movie "Eat, Pray, Love" there is this discussion about a box:

"I've been filling it with baby things... waiting until Andy was ready to be a father."

"So sweet.  Does it come in my size?  "I have a box just like this except it's filled with National Geographics... and the Times travel section.  All the places I want to see before I die."


In the 2010 British comedy "Cemetery Junction" there are two references:

"That's National Geographic.  I wanna travel, see other cultures."

And later on:

"It's not a book.  It's National Geographic."


In the 2010 movie "Marry Me" there is this line"

"You should have your own show on National Geographic Channel."


Near the beginning of the 2010 schlock horror movie "Sharktopus" there is this line:

"Very National Geographic, isn't it?"


"The Postwoman" (2010)


In the 2010 French movie "L'homme qui voulait vivre sa vie" ("The Big Picture") there is this line:

"I am waiting an answer from National Geographic."


In the 2010 Israeli horror movie "Kalevet" ("Rabies") the characters are getting lost:

"I played at the court last year and this isn't the way."

"But it's pretty here."

"Yeah, it's real nice."

"Yes, Adi, but this isn't National Geographic, so do me a favor and take a look at the map."


In the 2011 adventure turned survival movie "Sanctum" set in an Australian cave there are three separate references.  The first one being:

"You guys from National Geographic, right?"

"Yeah, good to see you."

"Hey, Victoria.  Hey, you've got to meet this guy."

Later in the movie there's this:

"What you got there, Frank?"

"I don't know."

"Let's take a peek.  Hey, Vic.  Get some B-roll for the National Geographic, would you?"


And still later there's this:

"George!  George, where are you?"

"Turn that light off."

"Come on, Josh, we'll make the cover of National Geographic yet."


In the 2011 movie "You May Not Kiss the Bride" there were these honeymoon plans:

"I like your idea, in fact, honeymooners in the jungle."

"Do you like it?"

"I lke, I wanted a photographer.  National Geographic, and I was going to see the world.  Contrary to what happened."


In the 2011 UK sci-fi comedy "Attack the Block" after accidentally killing an alien ther is this debate:

"Moses, where are we gonna take this thing?"

"Take it to Ron's.  He watches that National Geographic shit."


In the 2012 comedy "This is 40" there is this lament:

"My boobs are just gone.  Since I had kids, my boobs are just gone.  They didn't even say goodbye, you know?  They just left.  By the time I'm 40 these are gonna go National Geographic on me.  I feel bad about myself."


In the 2012 monster movie "Dragon Wasps" there is this question about a native ritual:

"You ever been to one of these shindigs, huh?"

"Nat Geo.  Season four."

"Ah.  That is one ugly son of a bitch."


In the 2012 'found footage' horror movie "Area 407" (originally "Tape 407") there is this line:

"Seriously.  This is not National Geographic."


In the 2012 British/Irish horror comedy "Grabbers" this dialog comes up:

"Listen to me.  It's bigger than you think.  Get back inside now, please.  I'm begging you."

I need a photograph with it for National Geographic.  And Facebook."

In the 2012 Indonesian drama "5 cm" a film delivery man promises a beautiful young woman to deliver a film reel on time to a movie theater.  But the whole city seems to conspire against him.  Near the beginning of the film there are these lines:

"National Geographic?"

"The Explorer Series one."

Later in the film there is this:

"Nice National Geographic."


In the 2012 Jackie Chan action movie "Chinese Zodiac" there is this introduction:

"Martin is from National Geographic Channel.  This is Professor Gaun"

"How are you, sir?"

"How do you do?"

"National Geographic Channel is very respectable."

Later, there's this:

"Boys and girls, Martin is from National Geographic Channel.  He is here to do a feature on the bronze heads.  We need all the help we can get from mainstream media like National Geographic Channel."

And still later:

"You have my support."

"Producer from National Geographic Channel."






In the 2012 stand-up comedy "Kevin Bridges: The Story Continues" there is this line:

"You'll turn on the National Geographic Channel."


In the 2013 one-man-show movie "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth" the is this monologue:

"I tell ya, man, Rotten Robin and Ruth the Ruthless, they jumped on my wallet like a pack of wild dogs from Africa, man.  You ever watch National Geographic and Animal Channel?  Of course, it's this animal that everybody's trying to get in Africa."


In the 2013 monster movie "Spiders" there is this scene:

[Screams] "It's just bats."

"This must be New York City, or a National Geographic special."

"Welcome to the subway."

"That way.  It'll get us closer to the apartment."


In the 2013 Australian movie "Tracks" there is this excerpt:

"And so, I'm writing to you, in the hope that your magazine will sponsor my trip,  I believe National Geographic to be of the highest international repute.  The trip will take me through some of the most beautiful and barren country."


In the 2013 Indian action film "Bullett Raja" there is a brief mention as part of a list:

"The Animal Channel.  National Geographic."


In the 2013 Korean movie "Mi-seu-teo Go" ("Mr. Go") there is this line:

"You see that often in National Geographic."

Also, the following line appears twice in the film:

"If you watch Nat Geo."


In the 2013 stand-up comedy movie "Al Madrigel: Why is the Rabbit Crying?" there is this:

"If you ever watch the Prison Channel, AKA Nat Geo, there's a lot of cholos in that.  Think you're going to tune in and see some Pygmy titty.  No, it's MS-13 shanking people by the handball court."


In the 2014 comedy * "A Merry Friggin' Christmas" there is the following exchange:

"Aw, crud, I can't find my camera.  Mitch, go look for it, will you?"

"For cripe's sake, we're not National Geographic.  They're not some bunch of bonobos."

         * Robin Williams (posthumous)


In the 2014 movie "Kid Cannabis" there is this anatomical impossibility:

"We were working hard and playing even harder.  And had forgotten old man Grefard's advice about not flashing your hubris and candy apples, whatever.  My head was so far up my ass, National Geographic couldn't've found it.  But then one night, we got a big wake up call."


In the 2014 movie "Jarhead 2: Field of Fire" there is this scene:

"What's going on with the video camera guy?"

"He's still there."

"You think he's Taliban?"

"Or a, sympathizer."

"I don't care if he shoots for National Geographic."

"Let me turn his lights off?"

"Easy, A-Slash."


In the 2014 Fictional Documentary "The History of Time Travel" there is a cameo of National Geographic magazines.  In the last scene of the movie, there are several shelves of them on a bookcase.  Citation and image courtesy of Juan Carlos Herrera de Castillo.


In the 2014 Turkish movie "Cakallarla Dans 3: Sifir Sikinti" there is this line early in the film:

"Like something from National Geographic."


My most recent movie "cameo" is in the 2014 Science Fiction, "I, Origins".  The movie uses the adage "the eyes are the windows to the soul" to posit a world where there is not only reincarnation but also the new person has the same retinal scan as the former one.  The plot has the protagonist, Ian Gray played by Michael Pitt, searching for a girl in India who is the reincarnation of his lost love.

In one scene there is a framed National Geographic Magazine cover hanging on a wall in a bar.  It is of the April, 2002 "Found" issue and is used to draw a parallel between the hero's plight and the real life, seventeen year search by photographer Steve McCurry for Sharbat Gula, the Afghan girl with "those eyes".

Note: photo courtesy of Philip Riviere.


In the 2015 movie "The Theory of Everything" there is this line:

"Sure you don't want me to call National Geographic?"


In the 2015 documentary "The Death of 'Superman Lives': What Happened?" there is this line about the design of Brainiac's Skull Ship:

"But Peters wouldn't have it.  He had a National Geographic cover with an Australopithicus Africanus skull, you know, the Lucy thing.  I think he pinned it on our wall. And I think he said it's a skull, I want a skull ship."

Note: photo courtesy of Philip Riviere,


In the 2016 comedy "50 Shades of Black" upon meeting Hannah, Christian Black's adoptive mother, Claire, says:

"Oh my you have beautiful breasts.  I would have thought they would be more droopy, like a sock with rocks in the toe like in those National Geographic Magazines."


In the 2017 Horror Movie, "Get Out", there is this discussion on photography:

"The images you capture are so brutal, so melancholic. Powerful stuff. I think."

"Thank you."

"I used to dabble myself. Wilderness mostly. I have submitted to Nat Geo 14 times before I realizing I didn't have the eye."


In the 2018 action war drama, "12 Strong", a soldier is shown in a tent laying on a cot, reading the December 1999 issue of the National Geographic.

Later, that same soldier is seen outside sitting on a crate, reading another National Geographic, the May 1993 issue.


In the 2018 Animated Movie "Smallfoot", after uploading a video of a Yeti a wildlife explorer receives a slew of voice mails.  One of them is this" "Percy, this is the National Geographic Society...".


In the 2018 Movie "A Star Is Born" there is a row of National Geographics in volume cases on a bookshelf in the background of the following scene:


In the 2018 movie "First Man" there is an erroneous cameo of a December 1969 issue of National Geographic.  A scene showing this issue on a shelf is set on July 27, 1969.  It is at the facility the astronauts were quarantined after their mission.  The Spanish subtitle translates to "And in fact on this day, when we mark the return of the astronauts".  This scene was found by Juan Carlos Herrera del Castillo.


In the 2019 animated movie "Toy Story 4" there is a National Geographic cameo.  While being chased by sinister puppets, Woody and his new friend Forky knock over a stack of old National Geographics.  The Spanish subtitle translates to: "You will not go anywhere".  This scene was found by Juan Carlos Herrera del Castillo.


There is a cameo of a National Geographic in the 2019 space movie "Ad Astra". In one scene the camera was panning around a room on a space lab at Neptune, there is a prominent close-up of the July 2014 cover. The premise of the plot was that there was an active search for "other life" in the universe.  This cameo was noted by Scott Shier.



In the 2020 SciFi/Fantasy movie "The New Mutants", there is a set of National Geographic magazines on a shelf in a common room at a hospital/prison for young mutants.

V. Television:


On "The Andy Griffith Show" the main character is Sheriff Andy Taylor played, obviously by Andy Griffith.  In a book about the show written by Ken Beck and Jim Clark there is a passage describing Andy.  This is an excerpt from page 10: "To wind down after a hard day's work at the office, Andy enjoys nothing better than to sit back in his favorite chair with a smoke and a National Geographic".

An example of this love for the magazine can be found in episode 118 titled "Andy's Vacation" which aired on March 9, 1964.  The daily grind is getting to Andy and he is receptive to Barney's suggestion to take some time off.  During his one-week vacation, Andy plans to read his favorite magazine, National Geographic, and do a little gardening at home.


In season 1, episode 16 of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" entitled "Party is Such Sweet Sorrow" which aired January 9, 1971 there is this scene:

"What's that?"

"It's a brick.  With ants crawling all over it."

"I can see they're ants.  I want to know why we're showing them instead of the fire."

"Mr. Grant, maybe Allen's camera slipped."

"Murray, why did you let this film go on?  Did you think this was a National Geographic special?"

"Don't blame me.  The kid brought the film in as we were going on the air."

Throughout the entire run of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" there is a cameo by a National Geographic map supplement.  On the wall of Lou Grant's (played by Ed Asner) office, behind his desk there is a framed copy of the February 1969 map of the Moon.  Almost every shot of him sitting at his desk, all or part of the map can be plainly seen behind him. (Photo courtesy of Philip Riviere)

Early on Valery Harper's character, Rhoda, on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" wore baggy, store-bought clothes.  With the help of Mimi Kirk, Ms. Moore's stand-in, Valery changed Rhoda's look, including wearing headscarves.  As more and more young women imitated Rhoda's headscarves, she became a fashion icon.  The headscarf was an idea Ms. Kirk had lifted from a photo spread she saw in National Geographic.  They became a national trend.


Another National Geographic inspired fashion statement came from the action adventure series "The A Team".  On his looks, Mr. T who played B. A. Baracus on the show, based his mohawk on a National Geographic about Mandinka warriors and thought adopting the look would be a powerful callback to his African ancestry.


In season 3, episode 15 of the anthology series "Night Gallery" entitled "Hatred Unto Death" which aired of May 27, 1973, when asked if he had been interviewed, the main character said"

"Yes, in National Geographic and Sunday Times Magazine."


In episode 4 of the miniseries "The Secret Garden" entitled "The Door in the Wall" which aired May 20, 1975 there is this line:

"The one that looked like it might show up on National Geographic."


I was able to find three references to National Geographic on the hit comedy series "M*A*S*H".

In season 4 episode 17 entitled "Der Tag" which aired January 6, 1976 there is the following conversation:

"Major Burns has got duty and I can't find him anywhere."

"Try the latrine."

"I did.  He hasn't even taken the wrapper off his new National Geographic."

In season 4 episode 20 entitled "The Novocaine Mutiny" which aired January 27, 1976 another conversation goes like this:

"When I hear a twig snap, I think it's a North Korean creeping up on me, ready to slit my throat."

"When I hear a twig snap, It's my Uncle Ed coming to catch me with my National Geographic.  You know, the African pictures?"

In season 5 episode 4 entitled "Lt. Radar O'Reilly" which aired October 12, 1976 there is a conversation between Margaret and the recently "promoted" Radar:

"Get some enlisted men and start in supply and take care of the O.R."

"Yes Ma'am.  Uh Ma'am."

"Now what?"

"Is it okay if I try the officers' latrine?"

"Of course."

"Oh, Boy!  National Geographic!  Okay, guys, up, up."

In season 4 episode 25 of the sit-com "Happy Days" entitled "Fonzie's Baptism" which aired March 29, 1977 Fonzie wants to get baptized following a near death experience (race car accident). He thinks about giving up his motorcycle and get a DeSoto. Fonzie says he will be more like Richie and subscribe to National Geographic.


In season 1, episode 14 of the parody soap opera "Soap" there is this line:

"I grew up on National Geographic."

Half way through the pilot for the nighttime soap opera "Knots Landing" which aired December 27, 1979 there is this line:

"National Geographic, as we speak."


"One Day at a Time"

In season 1, episode 9 of the sit-com "Growing Pains" entitled "Carol's Crush" which aired November 28, 1985 there is this dialog:

"Okay, team, hit the showers! Okay, Ben. Punting practice is in the living room! Joke, Mom, joke! So have you heard what your daughter has planned for tonight? Not cross-indexing her National Geographics again."

"No. She's going to dinner and the theater in the city with Jeff."

"That sounds a lot like a date."


In season 2, episode 11 of the series "Murder, She Wrote" entitled "Murder Digs Deep" which aired December 29, 1985 there is this scene:

"Dr. Benton, what do you make of this?"

"Spectacular! If only the National Geographic were here."

"Funny the, uh, artifact has already been tagged."

"Very considerate of those ancient Indians, wouldn't you say?"




In season 3, episode 17 of "MacGuyver" entitled "Mask of the Wolf" which aired March 28, 1988 there is this plan:

"We take Two Eagles to the Kaqwani Indian reservation so he can commune with the wolf spirit. He wants to get in touch with his roots, see a mask. He's got a stick, it's got landmarks to tell him how to get there."

"What's in it for you?"

"Not a thing. Strictly a mission of mercy. I did place a couple of phone calls. Any idea what National Geographic might pay for a photo of the Mask of Illehkam? - Not to mention a first-person article."

"I knew it. There had to be something."

These are the many cultural references in some Movies and some Television to the National Geographic Society and its magazine. I’m sure there are a lot more.


In season 2, episode 12 of the series "Thirtysomething" entitle "Deliverance" which aired  March 21, 1989 there is this line:

"Yeah, I saw this article in National Geographic."


In season 1, episode 8 of "Beverly Hills, 90210" entitled "The 17 Year Itch" which aired November 29, 1990 there is this:

"I got burnt out on all that travelling.  I needed to put away my tripod and my ego's on shaky ground."

"I clipped all your National Geographic photos.  I always figured you for a National G lifer.  Oh, I even framed your Pulitzer winner.  It was breathtaking."

"You, too.  You look wonderful."

"Yeah right."


At the end of the season 4, episode 11 of "Seinfeld" entitled "The Contest" which aired November 18, 1992, Jerry Seinfeld is doing part of a stand-up routine.  He says the following:

"Men wanna see women naked."

"Whatever it is you won't show us that's what we're obsessed with seeing."

"If women always wore hats in public, all the time you'd see men buying Playhead magazine you know, Skulls of the Big 10."

"This would be what we're interested in."

"What about cultures, like in National Geographic where everybody is naked? What are men in these cultures trying to look at when the women walk by? How could you have a strip club there? Woman takes off the necklace and the nose ring, that's it, show's over."

"The men are going, "Boy, did you see that little indentation in her lip? I told you, man, this place is hot!""

Another occurrence of National Geographic in the series "Seinfeld" was a cameo.  In one of the early episodes, a magazine can be seen in Jerry's hallway.


In season 1 episode 4 of "Northern Exposure" entitled "Dreams, Schemes, and Putting Machines" which aired August 2, 1990 Joel (played by Rob Morrow) is trying to get two Japanese businessmen to build a resort with golf course in Alaska. He uses Ed's (played by Darren E. Burrows) idea of laying astroturf on a road for a golfing surface. Their exchange goes like this:

Joel: "I gotta hand it to you, Ed. Great idea. Mr. Masuto was very impressed."

Ed. "Yeah. I swiped it from a National Geographic special on Iceland."


"Mad About You"


On Season 1, Episode 8 of the TV Sit-Com "Frasier" entitled "Beloved Infidel" there is this exchange between Frasier and his brother Niles:

Frasier: "I assume you're here for a reason?"

Niles: "Ah, yes. Frasier, last night when I got home, that incident with Dad and Mrs. Lawlwr got me to thinking, what was it that caused the rift between our two families? So, I dug out my old boyhood journal, and looked up my entries from our last summer together at the lake. According to this, there was a three week period where Mom and Dad had screaming matches every night, after we went to bed."

Frasier: "I don't recall that."

Niles: "Oh, that's right. That was the same period that you insisted on wearing the wax earplugs and the slumber mask."

Frasier: "Well, I had to, what with you underneath the covers with a flashlight and the National Geographic."

Niles: "I was looking at the maps."

Frasier: "That's what makes it so scary. Now what's your point?"


In season 21 episode 10 of "Great Performances" which presented Tennessee William's "Suddenly, Last Summer" and aired January 6, 1993 there is this line:

"No matter how many National Geographics you? I have seen."

Go To Part 1:

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Tom Wilson

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