Did the Ghostbusters Originally Travel Through Time and Other Dimensions?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: The Ghostbusters originally traveled through time and other dimensions.

Released on June 8, 1984, Ghostbusters starred Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis as a trio of parapsychologists who develop a way to actually capture ghosts. With the addition of Ernie Hudson’s character Winston Zeddemore, the four heroes fight ghosts in New York City and get caught up with Murray’s character’s girlfriend (played by Sigourney Weaver) who is possessed by a demon that is aiding the invasion of a demon called Gozer, who famously attacks New York City as a giant version of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The movie was a smash hit, becoming the second-highest grossing film of the year behind Beverly Hills Cop.

Ghostbusters-Movie-Poster

Just like Beverly Hills Cop, though, Ghostbusters was a dramatically different film as originally written (check out this old Movie Legend about how Beverly Hills Copy was a vehicle for Slyvester Stallone). Read on to see how Dan Aykroyd originally envisioned the “Ghost Smashers!”
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Did a Baseball Player Spend His Career in the Majors As a Pop Star Under a Different Name?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC/BASEBALL URBAN LEGEND: A baseball player spent his career in the Major Leagues also as a pop artist, using a slightly different name.

Lee Maye broke into the Major Leagues in 1959 with the Milwaukee Braves, one year after the club, led by Hammerin’ Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews, had lost to the New York Yankees in the World Series. Maye would play a little in 1959 and 1960 before settling in for a solid four-year run for the Braves from 1961-1964, including leading the league in doubles in 1964!

He was dealt to the expansion Houston Astros in the middle of the 1965 season. That would start Maye on a long career as a journeyman. A season and a half in Houston, a season or two in Cleveland, a season in Washington and two seasons spent mostly on the bench for the Chicago White Sox to close his career out. His last game was in June of 1971.

Oddly enough, Maye’s career ended at roughly the same time that Arthur Lee Maye’s career ended. Who was Arthur Lee Maye?
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #534

Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did Marvel nearly reboot their comic book line in 1986? Was Daria really influenced by Enid from Ghost World? And what comic book artist had to flee TWO separate countries due to protesting the governments there?

Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to access it to update it in a while).

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Was the Apartment Building in 227 the Same One Used on Sesame Street?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: The show 227 used the same set as Sesame Street.

227 was a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs (who became famous as the sassy maid on The Jeffersons). Gibbs played inner city housewife Mary Jenkins.

The series was actually put into production a year ahead of schedule, as the plan was for Gibbs to do the series when The Jeffersons ended in 1986. Instead, The Jeffersons was canceled a year early so the series went into production in 1985. Based on a play by Michael G. Moye, the show took place in an apartment building in Washington, D.C. with predominantly African-American residents (the official address was 227 Lexington Place). Moye’s original play was set in Chicago in the 1950s. He actually ended up taking his name off the series as he did not approve of the many changes that producers made to his original work, so the creator of the series is credited to a pseudonym Moye came up with, C.J. Banks. 227 eventually became more of an ensemble show over its five seasons, especially as Mary’s best friend, Sandra Clark (played by Jackée Harry) became a breakout character. Another member of the show’s original cast was Alaina Reed Hall, who played the kindhearted Rose Lee Holloway in all five seasons of the show.

Hall first came to national prominence as a cast member on the PBS children’s series Sesame Street, where she joined the series in 1976 as Olivia, the younger sister of Gordon Robinson, one of the original human characters on the series. Hall remained on the series until 1988, even doing the first three seasons of the show concurrently with her work on Sesame Street.

So Hall linked the two shows. However, there is an interesting legend that suggests that there is more of a connection between the two programs. According to Sesame Street’s official website:

When she left Sesame Street, actress and singer Alaina Reed didn’t have to move far. Her new show, 227, shared a set with Sesame Street. In fact, the front steps of the 227 apartment building were the stairs next to Oscar the Grouch’s trash can! Reed has appeared in stage productions on and off Broadway. Her film credits include Death Becomes Her and Cruel Intentions.

Is that true?
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Were Dorothy Parker’s Ashes Kept in a Filing Cabinet for Two Decades?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to poetry and poets and whether they are true or false.

POETRY URBAN LEGEND: Dorothy Parker’s ashes sat in a filing cabinet for nearly two decades.

Dorothy Parker was one of the leading humorists and wits of the 20th Century.

After selling her first poem to Vanity Fair in 1914, Parker eventually went to work for that magazine as well as Vogue as she became famous for her presence as a founding member of the gathering of New York wits known as the Algonquin Round Table.

In 1925, Harold Ross founded the New Yorker and Parker was one of his star writers. She wrote more than 300 poems for the magazine, specially in viciously dark poems, with suicide being a common topic. In 1926, Parker released the first volume of her poems titled ENOUGH ROPE : POEMS. It sold well.

Eventually, Parker moved to Hollywood where she became a successful and acclaimed screenwriter. Her left-wing politics though resulted in her eventually becoming blacklisted.

She returned to New York City where she worked for various magazines, perhaps most famously doing book reviews for Esquire. She had two separate “stints” being married to fellow writer Alan Campbell that ended with Campbell’s suicide in 1963 (from a drug overdose). However, her later years were mostly noted by her problems with alcoholism and after Campbell’s death, Parker did not have very many close friends.

This, therefore, led to the sad, strange fate of Parker’s ashes.
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How Did the Way Tom Petty’s Wife Say the Word “Age” Give Us the Hit Stevie Nicks Song, “Edge of Seventeen”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about music and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the movie urban legends featured so far.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Stevie Nicks wrote “Edge of Seventeen” based on the way that Tom Petty’s wife pronounced the word “age.”

“Edge of Seventeen (Just Like the White Winged Dove)” is perhaps Stevie Nicks’ most iconic solo hit. It was released on Nicks’ debut solo album, Bella Donna, which came out in July of 1981. Nicks began recording the songs that would make up the album in August of 1980.

In 1980, Nicks recorded “Stop Dragging My Heart Around” with rock singer Tom Petty (it was the top single off of Bella Donna).

While recording the song, Nicks hung out with Petty and his then-wife, Jane, which led to an important conversation that inspired her hit song, “Edge of Seventeen,” in a peculiar way!
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How Did Robert Altman’s Son Make Over a Million Dollars Writing the Lyrics to “The Stupidest Song Ever Written”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about movies and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the Movie urban legends featured so far.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Robert Altman’s son made over a million dollars writing the lyrics to “Suicide is Painless.”

“Happy accidents” are common in the world of entertainment. as there often needs to be a rare confluence of events for anything to become a hit, but a particularly odd branch of hit songs are the ones where the artists behind the song truly did not believe in the material. In the past, I’ve spotlighted the story of how the hit Strawberry Alarm Clock song “Incense and Peppermints” was recorded by a teenager hanging out in the studio because no one in the band wanted to sing such a dumb song and how the classic hit song “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” was recorded by a made-up band name because the songwriters didn’t want to be associated with such a dumb song. In the “proud” tradition of those artists, then, we have for you the story of how a teenager was enlisted to help write the “stupidest song ever written” and how said song then made millions.

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Comic Book Legends Revealed #533

Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did the Beyonder really create the New Universe? Learn the strange origin of a classic Joker comic book story! Plus, discover the amusing prank that Bill Gaines pulled on the New Yorker!

Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to access it to update it in a while).

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Was Gabrielle Reece Cast as the She-Hulk in a Failed She-Hulk TV Pilot?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: Gabrielle Reece was cast as the She-Hulk in a failed She-Hulk TV pilot.

The creation of the She-Hulk came directly as a result of the success of the late 1970s Incredible Hulk TV series. Marvel was afraid that the show would eventually introduce a female version of the Hulk so they made sure that they invented one first. I covered it in an old Comic Book Legends revealed here (Spider-Woman owes her creation to a similar scenario). Reader Stephonie wrote in to ask:

There’s a legend where the late Bill Bixby developed and filmed a tv pilot spinoff based upon The Incredible Hulk. It was supposed to star Gabrielle Reece as She-Hulk. I’ve tried to find photo evidence of this but couldn’t find anything. Could you investigate this?

Sure thing, Stephonie! Read on for the answer!
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Was The Word “Bull” in a Longfellow Poem Really Bowlderized to “Gentleman Cow”?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to poetry and poets and whether they are true or false.

POETRY URBAN LEGEND: Thomas Bowdler “bowdlerized” Longfellow’s “Wreck of the Hesperus” by editing “bull” to “gentleman cow.”

Thomas Bowdler was a physican at the turn of the 19th Century who is much more famous for the work he did with his sister, Harriet, in editing the works of Shakespeare into a form that would make it appropriate for women and children to read. Bowdler recalled when he was a child and his father would entertain the family with the plays of Shakespeare, his father would surreptitiously omit parts of the plays that he felt were inappropriate for the ears of his wife and children. Bowdler felt that many people would appreciate an actual text version on these omissions, so that they did not have to do the omitting on their own.

So Thomas and Harriet set out to edit Shakespeare (with Harriet taking the lead). Eventually roughly 10% of Shakespeare’s words had been expunged, with some of them replaced by other words and some words (and characters) omitted entirely. One of the most famous changes in the collection (titled The Family Shakespeare) was the edit made to Macbeth, where Lady Macbeth’s famous cry “Out, damned spot!” was altered to “Out, crimson spot!”

As you might imagine, even over 200 years ago their actions drew derision from the literary community, and soon the term “bowdlerize” was coined to describe inelegant edits designed to cut out “offensive” material.

As the story goes, one of the most egregious edits Bowdler ever made was when he edited a reference to a bull in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s classic poem, “The Wreck of the Hesperus”

longfellow

She struck where the white and fleecy waves
Looked soft as carded wool;
But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
Like the horns of an angry bull.

from “bull” to “gentleman cow.”

And so “gentleman cow” has become a famous term for when someone is trying too hard to be inoffensive about a reference.

So, did this happen?
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