Did Lucas Want to Destroy All Copies of the Star Wars Holiday Special?

TV URBAN LEGEND: George Lucas once said, “If I had the time and a sledgehammer, I would track down every copy of that show and smash it.”

The Star Wars Holiday Special is one of the most bizarre pieces of pop culture ever. A year after Star Wars debuted and was a huge success, they decided to do a TV special while waiting for the sequel to come out in 1980.

All of the major cast members showed up, from Mark Hamill to Harrison Ford to Carrie Fisher…

Of course, so did Bea Arthur…

The idea was that it was a variety special based on the basic concept of Han Solo and Chewbacca traveling to Chewy’s home world, Kashyyyk, to celebrate Life Day (essentially the Wookiee equivalent of Christmas).

The special is also known for having a cartoon in it that officially introduced Boba Fett before he showed up in the next film in the series.

Anyhow, the special was not warmly received and George Lucas clearly made a point to keep the show hidden. It made only a single official airing on broadcast television, but it aired in a number of other countries unofficially and those copies are the ones that places like YouTube air.

So Lucas did not like the special.

However, his dislike for it has created a bit of a legend.

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November 17th, 2020 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

How Did An Early Screener of Halloween Change the Film Forever?

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.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: John Carpenter came up with the iconic score for Halloween only after an advanced screening of the film.

It’s really fascinating to realize that there is a whole genre of films that really only came about in the last 40 years or so. There had obviously been horror films before 1978’s Halloween and there had even been films that you could call “slasher” films before (heck, one of the classics in the genre, Alfred Hitchcok’s Psycho, came out almost 20 years before Halloween), but the specific set-up of director John Carpenter’s Halloween was a new one for Hollywood.

It told the story of a maniac named Michael Myers (or “The Shape”) terrorizing a suburban neighborhood on Halloween night, trying to kill as many babysitters as possible…

One heroic babysitter, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) was able to protect her young charges and ward off the killer…

“Slasher killer tries to kill teenagers” became its own extremely successful genre from this point on, although few of its copycats were ever able to duplicate the brilliance of Halloween, which stood out as a legitimately great film for its time, regardless of genre.

Written by Carpenter and his co-producer on the film, Debra Hill, the movie is also extremely well known for the brilliant, stripped-down score for the film by Carpenter himself. Movies traditionally have orchestral scores, so Carpenter’s simple keyboard score really stood out and his famed score was used for most Halloween sequels, even the ones that Carpenter wasn’t otherwise involved in making.

The film was made on a very small budget (under $400,000) and its stripped-down style was used beautifully by Carpenter and the almost guerrilla filmmaking somehow worked out perfectly (like the famous decision by costume designer Tommy Lee Wallace to use an adapted Captain Kirk face mask for Michael Myers’ iconic mask. Wallace just bought the mask from a costume shop for less than two dollars and transformed it into a piece of film history).

Carpenter, of course, was looking to do even bigger films and before the release of Halloween, he screened the almost-finished film for a Fox film executive as a sort of demonstration of his skills. Carpenter recalled how her reaction to the film changed it forever:

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October 31st, 2020 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Bela Lugosi Nearly the Original Universal Studios Frankenstein’s Monster?

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.

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Bela Lugosi nearly played Frankenstein’s Monster, who would have looked dramatically different!

I once asked my mother about the Outlander TV series. I had recalled that she had enjoyed the novels, so I recommended the TV series to her and she said she preferred not to watch it. When I asked why, she explained that she already had her vision of what the characters looked like and she wasn’t interested in seeing a conflicting version to spoil her own vision.

The interesting thing about that is that is very much what DOES happen with popular film adaptations of famous novels. The film version becomes the definitive version, whether it matches the novel at all. In the case of Frankenstein’s Monster, Mary Shelley’s novel describes the character MUCH differently than the version that was played by Boris Karloff in 1931’s Frankenstein, and yet the Karloff version is now the iconic depiction of what Frankenstein’s Monster looks like.

It’s fascinating to note, then, that said iconic depiction of Frankenstein’s Monster almost never came to pass!!

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October 31st, 2020 | Posted in Movie Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Was Cap’n Crunch the Character Introduced Before Cap’n Crunch the Cereal?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends related to cuisine (chefs, dishes, etc.) and whether they are true or false.

CUISINE URBAN LEGEND: Cap’n Crunch the character predated Cap’n Crunch the cereal.

In 1961, Jay Ward and Bill Scott, the creators of The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends, were given an unusual offer from Quaker. The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends had been sponsored by General Mills cereals, but now a rival wanted Ward and Scott to create some new cartoon characters for them, only this time, the cartoon characters would be tied directly to cereals!

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August 11th, 2020 | Posted in Cuisine Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did a Typo Accidentally Make Rudolph’s TV Special Public Domain?

TV URBAN LEGEND: A typo accidentally made Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV Special public domain.

Everyone knows the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV Special that has been airing yearly on CBS for over FIFTY years now…

The story of Rudolph, mocked for his shiny red nose, who heads off with a depressed elf named Hermey (who wants to be a dentist instead of work for Santa Claus) and end up on an island of Misfit Toys before everything works out for everyone involved, is a total classic.

However, did you ever notice that there is a major error in the opening of the special?

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December 20th, 2019 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #746

Welcome to the seven hundred and forty-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Each part of this week’s legends has their own link.

X-Men: Who Actually Coined the Term ‘Homo Superior’?

The Comic That Caused Bernard Krigstein to Quit EC Comics!

What Happens When Four Pages of a Comic Book Go Missing Right At Deadline?

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Did Captain Kirk Never Actually Say ‘Beam Me Up, Scotty’ On Star Trek?

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: Kirk never actually ever said, “Beam Me Up, Scotty” on Star Trek.

It’s funny, I’ve done legends like this one before, like on whether B.A. Baracus ever actually said “I pity the fool” on The A-Team or whether Gracie Allen said, “Goodnight, Gracie” on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, but I’ve left this one alone because I figured that it was too famous. And don’t get me wrong, it IS pretty well known, but what about the people who DON’T know it? I figure I might as well get it out of the way for those folks, as well.

So here ya go, despite there being a whole lot of teleportation on Star Trek over the years…

and Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (who also famously hid his right hand for most of the series) often being the one being the controls of the teleporter…

Did he ever use the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty”?

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August 27th, 2019 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Comic Book Legends Revealed #745

Welcome to the seven hundred and forty-fifth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Each part of this week’s legends has their own link.

Was The Son Of Satan Originally Going to Star…Just Satan?

How A Joke Ultimately Led to Alicia Masters Becoming a Skrull

The Mystery of Harry A Chesler’s Phantom Ties to Feature Funnies

Comic Book Legends Revealed #744

Welcome to the seven hundred and forty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Each part of this week’s legends has their own link.

The Spider-Man/Hulk Team-Up That Took Seven Years to Be Released!

The True Identity of the Controversial ‘Marc — On the Man’s Side’!

How a Case of Perfect Timing Gave Us the EC Classic, ‘Master Race’

Comic Book Legends Revealed #743

Welcome to the seven hundred and forty-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Each part of this week’s legends has their own link.

See The First Superman Comic Story Censored By the Government!

Was Spider-Man Foe, Mad Jack, Created Without a Secret Identity?

Did a Comic Change Names Due to a Lawsuit Over the Word ‘Funnies’?

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