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The legend of “See You Next Wednesday”

See You Next Wednesday began as a recurring gag for film director John Landis. He took the line from the 1968 classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, where it is the last line spoken by Frank Poole’s father during Poole’s video letter from his parents. The line apparently became the title of a script/treatment he wrote at the age of 15 years old which he now homages in his work. It usually refers to a movie that is being shown/advertised within Landis’ movie. The genre of See You Next Wednesday also changes with each movie. Over time though, this reference has grown and mutated beyond Landis’ movies and seeped into popular culture including tv, music, comics, and video games.

The first appearance of SYNW (See You Next Wednesday) occurred in Landis’ 1973 movie Schlock which focuses on a prehistoric apeman who terrorises Southern California. SYNW is spoken about twice in the movie as well as being shown on a film poster. From the discussions it appears SYNW is in fact two totally different films, yet both exists within Schlock.

In 1977 SYNW is mentioned in The Kentucky Fried Movie and in 1980 SYNW is seen on two billboards during The Blues Brothers movie. Both films are directed by Landis.

During 1981’s An American Werewolf in London, SYNW is a pornographic movie that is initially seen on tube station movie posters. It is billed as “a Non-Stop Orgy.” Later characters from the movie have a conversation in a cinema whilst SYNW is playing in the background!

  • At the end of 1982’s Coming Soon there is a series of clips from recent Universal Studios film trailers with the final being watercolour poster art for SYNW, followed by Jamie Lee Curtis giggling at the inside joke.

SYNW next appears in Landis’ 1983 hit Trading Places where it can be seen on a poster in Ophelia’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) apartment. The poster reveals that this SYNW is directed by William Wyler and stars Laurence Olivier, Merle Oberon and David Niven. These were in fact the real director and cast of the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights.

In the Michael Jackson 1983 music video Thriller, which was directed by Landis, SYNW is a phrase spoken by a deputy in the werewolf film that Michael and his girlfriend are watching. It is also visible as a poster on the outside of the cinema as they leave.

Other Landis SYNW drops include 1983’s Twilight Zone: The Movie where in the “Time Out” segment an S.S. officer says “see you next Wednesday” in German, whilst 1985’s Spies Like Us (1985), features a U.S. Army recruiting poster behind Colonel Rhumbus (Bernie Casey) that reads “The army can teach you a skill. See You Next Wednesday.”

SYNW film posters pop up in Landis’ Into The Night (1985) and Coming to America (1988). In Coming to America the film posters advertises SYNW as a film starring Dan Aykroyd, Sybil Danning, Jamie Lee Curtis, Moe Howard, and James Brown.

The first non-Landis reference to SYNW occurs in the “Video Pirates” segment of 1987’s Amazon Women on the Moon when the pirates find a treasure chest filled with golden video cassettes- including one cassette labelled “See You Next Wednesday.” Later in the movie the movie poster of SYNW from An American Werewolf in London is shown in a Tower Records store. Another non-Landis reference takes place that same year in the video game NetHack, where the phrase “See you next Wednesday” appears as graffiti on the floor during the game.

SYNW also appeared on television when Landis directed the first episode of the 1990 series Dream On.  In the show Martin (Brian Benben) says to his maid (Marianne Muellerleile), “See you next Thursday.”. She quickly corrects him saying, “Wednesday.”

In Michael Jackson’s 1991 Black or White music video SYNW is shown on the window which Michael Jackson throws a garbage can through. It read “See You Next Wednesday Storage Co.”

Other Landis references include 1992’s Innocent Blood where SYNW is advertised on a marquee; 1996’s The Stupids where SYNW appears on the back of a bus, and the 2006 episode of Masters of Horror called “Family” where a cartoon character speaks the phrase.

Another non-Landis reference to SYNW occurs in the 2000 video game Deus Ex, where an email found on Paul Denton’s computer contains a notice from a movie rental company, mentioning the movies See You Next Wednesday and Blue Harvest.

2004’s Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! contains another non-Landis reference. In this case a tv advert features a Spanish-language voiceover saying “¡Hasta el próximo miércoles!” (until next Wednesday).

The 2008 movie Hellboy II: The Golden Army, features a non-Landis reference when a cinema marquee advertises the film “SEE YOU NEXT _ _ _ N _ SDAY”.

SYNW has also appeared in other non-Landis productions such as Doctor Who, Ghostrider 2099, Psych, American Grindhouse, Annulment, Sharknado 5, Mozilla, Babylon 5, and in the 2010 Michael Bublé’s music video Hollywood.

I’m sure there will be other SYNW references I may of missed, be sure to add them in the comments. SYNW is something that continues to lurk in popular culture and I am sure we have not seen the last of it!


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