What Famous Talk Show Host Wouldn’t Appear on the Simpsons if They Made Fun of Him?

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: Johnny Carson wouldn’t guest star on The Simpsons if they made fun of him.

The Simpsons have had a long history of celebrities making cameo appearances on the show, but what is sometiems forgotten due to the sheer longevity of the series is how different things were in the early years of the show. In a TV Legend a while back about Michael Jackson’s appearance in The Simpsons‘ third season premiere, I explained that in the early days of the show, while celebrities would occasionally lend their voices to the show, they would often use pseudonyms in the credits. In the beginning, there really weren’t celebrity cameos, though. Dustin Hoffman and Michael Jackson played other characters, not themselves. The episode that really changed everything was the third season episode, “Homer at the Bat,” where Mr. Burns decides to fill his company softball team with a group of ringers made up of famous Major League Baseball players. The episode was a major success and some of the players (like Darryl Strawberry and Wade Boggs) credit the episode with making them even more well known. A year later, when writer John Swartzwelder pitched the idea of Krusty the Clown getting canceled and then having a comeback special, showrunners Al Jean and Mike Reiss saw this as an opportunity to do another version of “Homer at the Bat,” only with other kinds of celebrities instead of baseball players. However, they soon learned that The Simpsons in their fourth season did not yet have the cachet that they hoped for when it came to get celebrities to sign on to do cameos on the show. A whole pile of celebrities backed out of appearing on the show, some of them doing so at the last minute. Before the Red Hot Chili Peppers signed on to perform in the episode, both the Rolling Stones and Wynonna Judd turned the show down (years later, when The Simpsons had become a standard place for celebrities to do cameos, the Stones appeared. I think Judd blew any chance she had of being on the show). Because they were so desperate to add celebrities, the show ended up making a notable concession with one of the possible celebrities, Johnny Carson – they agreed NOT to make fun of him!

simpsons

Read on to see how they got Johnny Carson to appear on the show!
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Was the First Interracial Kiss on a TV Drama Originally Going to be Between Uhura and SPOCK?

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 first interracial kiss on a TV drama was originally going to be between Mr. Spock and Lt. Uhura.

While the current Star Trek film series is a dramatic departure from the old Star Trek set-up in a number of ways (primarily the fact that the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise all took on their respective jobs on the ship at a much younger age than they did in the regular timeline) the interpersonal relationships among the crew are roughly the same as they were in the original stories featuring them. A notable exception, however, is in the romance between the half-Vulcan first officer Mr. Spock and the ship’s communications officer, Lt. Uhura.

uhuraspock

The two did not have many scenes together during the original Star Trek series. However, did they almost share a notable piece of television history? Was the famous interracial kiss during “Plato’s Stepchildren” in the last season of the original Star Trek television series originally going to take place between Uhura and Spock rather than Uhura and Captain Kirk?

Uhura_and_Kirk_kiss

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Did Michael Jackson Actually Sing in His Guest Appearance on The Simpsons?

TV URBAN LEGEND: Michael Jackson didn’t actually do any singing in his guest appearance on The Simpsons.

Celebrities guest-starring on The Simpsons has become almost a right of passage for celebrities. You haven’t truly “made it” until you have appeared as a guest voice on The Simpsons (a while back, we featured a TV legend about Justin Timberlake’s ill-fated first appearance as a guest voice on The Simpsons). However, in the early days of celebrity guest voices on the show, the producers allowed their guest stars to use pseudonyms. Dustin Hoffman was the first guest actor to do so, using the credit “Sam Atic” (get it?) for his appearance in the late second season episode, “Lisa’s Substitute.” For the season three premiere, “Stark Raving Dad,” Michael Jackson appeared on the show as “John Jay Smith.” Jackson played Leon Kompowsky, a man that Homer Simpson meets in an asylum after Homer is accidentally committed. Kompowsky believes himself to be Michael Jackson. During the episode, Kompowsky sings the Jackson hit “Man in the Mirror” as well as an original song, “”Happy Birthday Lisa,” as a birthday present from Bart Simpson to his sister, Lisa. However, while Michael Jackson did appear on the episode, did he actually not sing on it? Find out!
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Does the Band Name Stone Temple Pilots Stand for Something Much More Lewd?

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.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Stone Temple Pliots took their band name from an attempt to keep the same initials as their earlier, extremely “unsafe for radio” band name.

NOTE: You might want to skip this one if you don’t wish to hear their earlier, fairly graphic, band name. – BC

Stone Temple Pilots is a rock band that is often referred to by their initials, STP.

Besides a number of hit records during the 1990s (and a Grammy in 1994), the band is probably best known for the behavior of their erstwhile lead singer, Scott Weiland, who had severe drug addiction problems.

After breaking up in 2003, the band re-united a few years ago (although they then fired lead singer Scott Weiland in 2013).

The band’s origins are bizarre, in that they first got started when Scott Weiland met Robert DeLeo at a concert and, upon discussing various things, realized that they were both dating the same girl!! They each broke it off with the woman and she then moved out of town. The two new friends ended up moving into her now vacant apartment.

That’s pretty damn weird already, right?

Anyhow, they eventually formed a band called Mighty Joe Young. They put out a demo tape and got positive feedback on their work.

When they were getting ready to record their debut album, they were informed that the name “Mighty Joe Young” was already being used, so they needed a new name. Their name choice was a bit shocking.
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Was the Song “Hey Man, Nice Shot” Inspired by Kurt Cobain’s Suicide?

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.

MUSIC URBAN LEGEND: Filter’s “Hey Man, Nice Shot” was about the real life suicide of Kurt Cobain.

Besides finding satanic references in various band names and songs, people like looking for pretty much any sort of odd references in the lyrics of songs.

When it came to Filter’s 1995 hit “Hey Man, Nice Shot,” though, folks did not really need much reading into the lyrics to know that the song was about a suicide.

The song, which appeared on their 1995 album Short Bus…

included the lyrics:

I wish I would’ve met you;
now it’s a little late.
What you could’ve taught me,
I could’ve saved some face.
They think that your early ending was all wrong;
for the most part they’re right,
but look how they all got strung.

That’s why I say, “Hey man, nice shot.”
“What a good shot, man.”

So it’s pretty clearly about suicide.

However, fans soon felt that the band (seen below) was not just referencing a typical suicide with their song, but specifically the suicide of the prior year of Nirvana front man, Kurt Cobain…
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #498

Welcome to the four hundred and ninety-eighth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week,, This week, I’m in Paris doing a Comic Book Legends Revealed exhibit at the Paris Comics Expo, so I thought it’d be fun to tie in this week’s legends with the Paris Comics Expo. Therefore, each legend this week will be tied in to an artist appearing at the show! How did the size of Batman’s gun lead to Alan Davis quitting Detective Comics? Did Elliot S! Maggin get fired from DC over Superman’s appearance in Loeb and Sale’s Challengers of the Unknown series? And how do we owe MySpace for seeing Adi Granov’s artist vision on the Iron Man films?

Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and ninety-seven.

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Did a Popular Radio Show Change the Name of the Show and the Lead Character Because of the Blacklist?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to radio and the people “behind the microphone,” so to speak, and whether they are true or false.

RADIO URBAN LEGEND: A popular radio series changed the name of the show (and title character) because the novelist who originated the character was blacklisted.

Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade had already found success in novels…

and film (with some help from Humphrey Bogart)…

before gaining radio success, as well, with the 1946 radio serial, The Adventures of Sam Spade, starring Howard Duff as Spade (Duff was largely an unknown in 1946 – within a couple of years he would be famous and married to Ida Lupino!).

The show was sponsored by Wildroot Cream-Oil.

Here is an old ad campaign for the show that appeared in comic books of the time…

Wildroot Cream Oil also used one of Al Capp’s characters in their ads, using the catchphrase, “Get Wildroot Cream-Oil, Charlie!”


This becomes important later.

The show debuted on ABC and then ran on CBS for a few years.

So it’s now 1950, and Hammett has been blacklisted by the government due to his constant protests for civil rights. The show had already removed his name on the credits.

Now, though, Howard Duff, as well, has been getting some inquiries from the House Un-American Activities Committtee.
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #497

Welcome to the four hundred and ninety-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week,, This week, did a personal tragedy lead to the death of the Hulk’s wife? Discover the secret Teen Titans crossover! Finally, did Marvel almost spoil the classic Thunderbolts reveal before the first issue even came out?

Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and ninety-six.

Click here to read this week’s legends.

Was the Unrated and Explicit Trailer for Nymphomaniac Accidentally Shown to the Audience of the Animated Film Frozen?

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 unrated and sexually explicit trailer for Nymphomaniac was accidentally shown to attendees of a showing of the children’s animated film, Frozen.

There is an old journalism adage that goes “everyone reads the false report and no one reads the correction.” This is true to this day, where rarely anyone actually reads the corrections section of a newspaper, but it is an even bigger deal in the era of internet news, where not only does news spread faster, but while a false report in a newspaper might appear in a single edition of a newspaper, false reports on the internet will always remain out there and so when you search for information on the story, the widespread original story is still going to be the one that shows up the most in your searches.

This appears to be the case with the story of how the sexually explicit “red band” trailer for Nymphomaniac was accidentally shown at a movie theater filled with movie goers there to see the Disney animated film Frozen.

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Did a Radio Show Accidentally Air a Re-Run Complete With the Breaking News Bulletin From the Original Episode?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to radio and the people “behind the microphone,” so to speak, and whether they are true or false.

RADIO URBAN LEGEND: A daily Washington D.C. radio show accidentally played a re-run episode complete with a breaking news bulletin from the past.

In 1998, Kojo Nnamdi took over a long-running daily morning talk show called Public Interest on WAMU in Washington D.C. that first began as The Fred Finke show in 1977 (when it was a nighttime public interest show). After a couple of host (and name) changes, WAMU went with “Public Interest” rather than naming it after the new host, Nnamdi.

In 2002, they ended up naming it The Kojo Nnamdi Show anyways, which is what it remains called to this day.

In November of 2002, Nnamdi woke up sick one day and did not feel that he would be able to come in and work.

Without adequate time to find a guest host, the producers decided to re-run a recent show.

They grabbed a show from October and popped it in.

The show went on as it normally did, with Nnamdi discussing various topics. However, while discussing dreams and nightmares with neurologist Richard Cytowik, a bulletin interrupted the show.

Five people had been shot in Montgomery County!!

Yes, the producers had unwittingly chosen the October 3rd episode of the program, the day that the infamous “beltway sniper,” John Allen Muhammed first broke into the news with his early morning sniping murders of four random strangers in Montgomery County, Maryland (just north of Washington D.C.) which was coupled with a shooting from the previous day (Muhammed would go on to murder a sixth victim later that night).
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