What do Buckaroo Banzai and Thomas Pynchon's novel THE CRYING OF LOT 49 have in common? 

According to Kyle Sobczak : "In Thomas Pynchon's novel THE CRYING OF LOT 49 (published in 1964 or thereabouts) much of the narrative takes place in the immediate vicinity of Yoyodyne Systems, a SoCal aerospace & missile manufacturer. This was undoubtedly a conscious reference by the screenwriter (having attended Dartmouth, he must have been exposed to Pynchon's work).

The book, BTW, is a great exercise in paranoia and surrealism, and Pynchon himself is quite an interesting (and mysterious) character."

The following information and images come from the (now former) Pynchon Files web site which was run and maintained by Richard Lane :


"The screen is a dim page spread before us..."

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)

"Remember; no matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Banzai

"...Buckaroo Banzai..." was the SF franchise that never happened. Created by writer Earl Mac Rauch and then directed by W.D. Richter, it was based around a genius neuro-surgeon/rock star/ cultural hero- Buckaroo Banzai (Peter Weller), and his band, the Hong Kong Cavaliers. There was also a network of over 6,000 civilian supporters/aides de-camp called the Blue Blaze Irregulars, ready to rise to the occasion. Intended as a multi-media series across films, books, comic books etc. the box office failure of the first film nixed those plans. But, an extremely loyal fan base, (a proto-group of Irregulars) have kept the film out of the cult ghetto to such an extent that a pilot script for a new TV series has just been commissioned by Fox Television. (Here is the official page, an indication the concept is picking up steam.)

Earl Mac Rauch used Pynchon's corporation Yoyodyne as the name for the company run by the evil alien race of Red Lectroids. These 8th dimension beings' plan for world domination, is thwarted by the Team Banzai and the more benevolent, Black Lectroids. Yoyodyne is mentioned in the film a number of times and is also in the novelization of the film.

Another tip of the hat appears to be the naming of John Lithgow's character, the alien Lord John Whorfin, and its loose proximity to Pynchon's seventeenth century playwright Richard Wharfinger in "The Crying of Lot 49".

In an unusual twist, 1990's "Vineland" appears to reference the movie. 'Eddie Enrico and his Hong Kong Hotshots',( pages 78 & 79 Little, Brown edition) pop up in the novel. Note the alliteration of the singer's name. Further proof is the mention on the same page, of Ramon Raquello. This is the name of the fake orchestra leader that is playing, and interrupted, during the fabled Orson Welles 1939 production of "War of the Worlds". In Buckaroo Banzai Yoyodyne is based at Grover's Mill, the actual site in New Jersey where Welles had his Martian invaders land.

For absolutely everything on the continuing Buckaroo Banzai saga, The Pynchon Files encourages you to visit the Buckaroo Banzai FAQ, where Sean Murphy has been an enormous help in researching the link between BB and TRP.

The Pynchon Files hopes a new generation will soon be sporting Yoyodyne logos, if the new show catches on.


Images from the film

The Yoyodyne Patch and Yoyodyne T-shirt
available from Starland (http://www.starland.com/bb)

A Buckaroo Banzai fan named Joe Giardino created this version of the Yoyodyne Billboard.

<-- Previous | Next -->

Buckaro Banzai FAQ Home Page

This page was last updated on June 10th, 2016.
Maintained by Sean Murphy [figment@figmentfly.com]