Pits. Guys love em. They play crucial roles in our favorite movies and often in our lives. The unknown fate that lies at the bottom is incredibly alluring to men. It’s not quite as alluring as the website Amateur Allure, but pits are quite enticing to the male gender of the human species. Whether digging your own against your father’s wishes in the back yard or dreaming of crushing your opponent in a pit fight, men are attracted to pits. With that I bring you the five most famous pits all time, all my life.
5. LA BREA TAR PITS
Approximately 355,000 people visit the Page Museum at the La Brea tar pits each year, making it one of the most famous pits in the world. Most certainly the majority of these visitors are school children being forced to endure a learning activity on a field trip but, nonetheless, a lot of people visit – and that’s not counting the bums that just go there to pee.
I’ve heard it posited that this is where the dinosaurs went extinct but that seems rather unlikely given the amount of dinosaurs walking the planet. I’m sure a few got stuck in there and died, but certainly not enough to wipe out the species. Ya the dinosaurs were dumb but you’ve got to think that a T-Rex would see other T-Rexes getting stuck and not wander out onto the black tar. My dogs know enough not to jump in a pool so I’m guessing that only a handful of dinosaurs died this way.
While I’ve never personally been there, I’ve seen it immortalized on TV and movies plenty. The first instance that comes to mind is an episode of Futurama entitled “That’s Lobstertainment.” It’s the 40th episode of the show and originally aired on February 25, 2001. It’s a Dr. Zoidberg heavy episode so you know it’s great. Leela lands the ship in the La Brea tar pit and the ship sinks trapping her and Fry, as he exclaims, “I always knew I’d die at the bottom of a pit, but a pit full of tar?” This sentence probably rings true for most males age 9-13. Growing up we all KNEW that there would come a time that we would face our demise at the hands of our dastardly foe in the finale of some harrowing adventure. We knew for certain that at some point we would be forced to leap into some unsavory death pit and then, of course, pull off some amazing escape and thwart our foe, no doubt in a role reversal and it would be THEY that succumb to the pit of doom. So far it hasn’t happened for me but fingers crossed.
4. THE MONEY PIT
I was first introduced to this movie when I was 22 and substitute teaching at my old high school. I was substituting for the auto shop teacher and he left this movie as his “lesson plans.” Thus I watched the first 50 minutes of it seven times in one day… and it was great every time!
This movie stars Tom Hanks and a hot off the heels of Cheers Shelley Long. It was the latter’s first major motion picture hit as it grossed nearly 38 million at the box office.
The story of the movie (spoiler alert) is that Walter Fielding (Hanks) and Anna Crowley (Long) get conned into buying a beautiful mansion at a ridiculously low price but the second they move in, the house literally falls apart. They are forced to renovate the house but the renovations also prove to be a disaster. Then Hanks gets AIDS or something. Like I said, I only saw the first half. Sadly, Mr. Mandernak was only out one day.
3. PITY CITY
“Pity City” was a wrestling move made famous by the Nasty Boys in WCW. The Nasty Boys, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags, made their careers out of being, well, nasty but mainly had jobs because they were friends with Hulk Hogan. There’s no chance in the world that these bozos would have been able to maintain employment outside of wrestling, unless it was as a short-order cook or a bowling alley shoe attendant.
The move is exactly what you’d think. Simply put, one Nasty Boy would take an opponent’s face and rub it into the armpit of the other Nasty Boy. As I recall it was usually Knobbs’ pit. You see they were big fat gross guys so, conceivably, their armpits smelled dreadful often to the point that it incapacitated their foe which led to the pin. Let’s just be thankful that they called it “Pity City,” and not something else that rhymes with pity.
The Nasty Boys were active from the mid to late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. The anti-social punks started their career in the American Wrestling Association and Florida Championship Wrestling, where they stayed from 1985-1988. Next they joined the then World Wrestling Federation from 1990-1993, which was the era of awful gimmicks and nobody watching. However, they are probably most famous for their tag team championship run in WCW in 1995 just as Monday Nitro was heating up, and their subsequent feuds with Harlem Heat and Public Enemy. After that run in WCW they went on to be the brunt of an NWO joke as the NWO pretended to let them in the “exclusive” club, but only after they filed the proper paper work, which was the actual storyline. “Sure you can join our gang of outlaw wrestlers, just as long as you get these forms notarized.” What nonsense! They deserved to be turned on by longtime friend, and current-day racist, Hulk Hogan.
The perennial garbage style wrestlers were known for their Tye-Dyed outfits, non-athleticism, awful physiques, stiff work in the ring and not selling. I strongly recommend watching some of their matches on the WWE network from this era. They are Olympic level terrible.
2. THE TIGER PIT IN THE MOVIE THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
What a phenomenal movie. There’s not a single warm-blooded American male that didn’t see this movie and immediately go out and attempt to build a tree house. Of course we failed miserably but seeing this amazing structure, which housed the family Robinson, gave us a plethora about which to fantasize. Could you really make a coconut hand grenade? Could you really ride an ostrich? Is one of our male friends secretly a hot babe?
This movie was life changing. It’s where we learned to booby trap our room and taught us the word “quarantine.” This timeless classic inspired many generations of men from 1960 onward to go out in our back yards and break our dad’s tools trying to saw lumber from the trees that he meticulously planted 15 years prior.
However, as incredible as the tree house was, nothing was more awesome than the TIGER PIT! In the movie, which came out in 1960 (spoiler alert), the family must defend their tree house and island from the evil pirates. This involved a lot of traps, gunpowder and disguising pits with palms and branches.
The youngest of the Robinson’s was Frances, a boy of probably age 10, who was obsessed with catching a tiger. His older siblings Fritz and Ernst scoffed at the youngling’s attempt to lure a tiger into his pit, but near the end of the film Frances is successful. Then when the pirates ultimately attacked, indeed, one or two actually fell into the tiger pit. BOOM bay-bay! The pay off is grand, as Frances hears the roar, and exclaims, “My tiger! It worked!” That’s not an exact quote but it was something like that.
This movie was so epic, it put me over the top when I was deciding whether or not to go to Tokyo Disney. I went and actually visited the Swiss Family Robinson attraction where I must have spent two hours watching the mugs fill up with water and examining every nook and cranny. Keep in mind I was well into my adulthood.
This movie wasn’t just epic for me; it was also for every single one of my friends, cousins and, of course, brothers. In fact, one night when I lived with a group of five friends, we were all getting ready to go to a big party. Someone was watching TV prior to our evening out, and noticed this movie was on. We all were mesmerized to the point where we skipped the party and got drunk at home reminiscing about our youths and how we were influenced by this movie. And yes, everyone admitted to attempting to dig a tiger pit.
1. THE SARLACC PIT FROM THE MOVIE RETURN OF THE JEDI
Without a doubt, if you read the first sentence of this article, the sarlacc pit popped into your head. It’s definitely the number one, most famous, most popular and most feared pit of all.
Famously appearing in the good half of what should have been conclusion to the Star Wars saga, Return of the Jedi, the sarlacc pit is what Jabba the Hut uses as his means of executing prisoners. It’s devastatingly simple. Jabba has his minions take a floating sky raft from his sail barge, loaded with prisoners, and tosses them in to the pit where, according to C-3PO translating for Jabba, “In its belly you will find a new definition of pain and suffering as you are slowly digested over a… thousand years.” Gulp. From Wookiepedia:
The sarlacc was a dangerous, carnivorous creature, as well as one of Jabba the Hutt’s favorite pets, that inhabited the Great Pit of Carkoon in the Dune Sea of Tatooine. It is actually a hundred meters in height, its entire body buried in the sand, save its massive mouth and beaked tongue. The sarlacc had several appendages that branched off from its buried body, and many stomachs. The creature swallowed its prey whole, and rows of hundreds of spear-like teeth kept the victim from climbing back out.
This sounds awful but keep in mind that it’s in the middle of the dessert planet Tatooine and a human could probably only last between three to five days in those temperatures with no food or water. So the thousand-year digestion is sort of a moot point, especially since one would no doubt be burned alive presumably by the massive amounts of stomach acid. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse.
This terrifying pit is supposed to be the coup de grace for Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca but it was not. You see Luke knew that this was going to be their fate and trusted R2D2 – and his own Jedi athleticism – to pull off what amounts to one of the greatest comebacks in all of cinematography. Spoiler alert.
Just as Luke is about to plummet to his death, walking the plank of doom, he signals to R2 and steps off the platform. And the crowd gasps as their hero dies… BUT HE DOESN’T! Luke drops off the diving board backwards, catches the edge with his hands, launches himself upward, performs three front flips for no reason and lands back on the raft just in time to catch the light saber that R2 has ejected from his launch hole perfectly aimed at Luke’s hand and the fight is on!
Luke makes quick work of the guards, one of which he Anderson Silva front “kicks” off the raft (he actually whiffs big time and the guard takes a phantom bump into the pit), frees Han and Chewie, sort of, as a disguised Lando commandeers the raft and the rebels proceed to decimate the bad guys. This included Leia choking Jabba to death with her chain, R2 zapping Salacious B. Crumb with his Taser, and gaining a measure of revenge on the most bad ass bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett, who is killed basically by accident. Luke then positions the cannon on the sail barge’s deck to blow it up, kicks the firing lever, and he and Leia once again swing sexily (no kiss for luck this time) onto Lando’s raft and escape successfully in a thrilling come from behind victory.
That scene. That one glorious scene is what made us all fall in love forever with the idea that we too could become Jedi. I’m also sure it led to many trips to the emergency room as 6th grade boys across the world attempted this same stunt on their local pool’s diving board. I know I tried it at least a dozen times; nearly cracking my jaw as my body skived past the edge of the board in an attempt to recreate Luke’s spectacular maneuver. Too bad my “midiclorian” count wasn’t that high.
It should have been the end of the movie, and the trilogy, and the saga. Instead what followed was a battle on Endor involving teddy bears decimating skilled assassins with sticks and rocks followed by three cinematic abortions.
Nonetheless the original scene in Jabba’s palace, prior to George Lucas going back and ruining it, was mesmerizing, enthralling, and all the other words that mean awesome, and contains, without a doubt, the coolest of all the pits.
Top Five Pits: HONORABLE MENTIONS
The Pit of 100 Trials in Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door: In this game one can choose to face a seemingly endless pit of enemies. Every tenth level contains a treasure and a pipe back to the top (if you’re a huge pussy). Bonetail inhabits floor 100. Beat him and you get…. well nothing… but you did it.
Pit Fighter: This is a video game where one fights in a pit. It was released in 1990 by Atari and was known for it’s digitized live actors. The game sort of sucked and paled in comparison to Street Fighter II that came out a year later.
Pit bulls (the dogs, not that lame DJ): I own a mix breed pit bull. Her name is Shogun and she’s as sweet as can be. Assholes make them mean.
Zasu Pitts: An American actress, born in 1894, who was known for her role in many silent dramas and then comedies once sound was figured out. She probably was a babe at the time. Her movies are current-day best sellers at Flying J’s and Cracker Barrels. One thing is for sure we need more people named Zasu.
Bottomless Pits: This is probably the worst way to die. Sure it sounds painless; but imagine falling for like four days until you starve to death. That would be terrifying. You’d also definitely have to evacuate your bowels and bladder in that time frame so you’d be falling next to your feces and urine for days.
Quick Sand: Growing up, I feel like every third movie I saw had quick sand in it. I was so terrified of death by quick sand that I practiced escaping quick sand in my back yard sand box. As it turns out, there’s not a lot of quicksand in the jungles of Missouri.