Did a Video Game Company Once Sue Viacom For Ruining the Star Trek Franchise?

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: A video game company once sued Viacom for, in effect, ruining the Star Trek franchise.

As we have seen numerous times over the years, there is a delicate balance between artistic freedom and the more commercial aspects of show business. One of the more shocking examples was when CBS wouldn’t continue with Cagney and Lacey unless one of the leads was replaced with a more “feminine” actress. However, even more on point with today’s legend is the strange situation that ended up with the legendary Neil Young being sued by his own record company for breach of contract because they claimed that he was intentionally not making “commercial” music. Think, then, about what if you were a company whose products were based on another company’s artistic output and you, too, felt that their output was not commercial. What do you do? That was the basis for the video game company Activision actually suing Viacom over “ruining” the Star Trek franchise.

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April 29th, 2016 | Posted in TV Urban Legends Revealed, Video Game Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

What Bob Dylan Song Was Surprisingly Inspired by Prince?

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: Bob Dylan’s “Dirty World” was an attempt to write a song “like Prince.”

During the height of Prince’s fame during the late 1980s, he and Bob Dylan did not have a whole lot in common (outside of them both being from Minnesota, of course).

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However, when Bob Dylan began writing songs for the Traveling Wilburys in 1988, he found inspiration for Prince in an unlikely song.
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April 29th, 2016 | Posted in Music Urban Legends Revealed | No Comments

Did The Hunt For Red October Accidentally Reveal Secret United States Submarine Technology?

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 Hunt for Red October accidentally revealed secret United States submarine technology.

The Hunt for Red October was a 1990 hit film about a Russian submarine commander (Sean Connery) who tries to defect to the United States, using the highly advanced nuclear submarine under his command as essentially an offering to the U.S. to allow him to defect.

Alec Baldwin plays the CIA analyst who figures out Connery’s character’s plan to defect. The rest of the film involves the Russians trying to destroy him before he can defect while the Americans try to find the ship and carry out the defection.

In any event, at one point in the film, the crew of the USS Dallas (the U.S. submarine trying to chase down the Red October to make contact and determine if the captain of the Russian sub actually IS trying to defect and if so, to help him in his attempt) note that they have “milligal anomalies”.

What does that mean?
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #572

Welcome to the five hundred and seventy-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did Marvel have a Spider-Man foe based on Prince? Did Peter David almost quit Incredible Hulk over Betty Banner’s pregnancy being terminated? And learn why the Hulk wasn’t allowed to crap out in Las Vegas!

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.

Did John Amos Quit Good Times Over How JJ Was Portrayed on the Show?

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: John Amos quit Good Times.

Good Times was a spin-off, of sorts, from Maude, with her housekeeper Florida Evans (played by Esther Rolle) and her husband, James (John Amos) getting their own show examining their home life. I’ve explained the “of sorts” part in an earlier TV Legends Revealed.

Both Rolle and Amos believed that the show would be about the struggles of a husband and wife as they try to raise their kids in tough economic times (Rolle specifically liked the idea that the show would depict a “traditional” family, and not a single mother). However, the eldest son on the show, JJ, played by Jimmie Walker, clearly became the breakout character on the show.

JJ was a buffoonish goofball, and soon the stories in the series became less of the plight of a working class African-American family in modern society and more about what wacky antics JJ would get up to that week. And America ate it up! Good Times made it to the Top Ten in its second season!

Amos and Rolle were both appalled at how the show had evolved (or, as I imagine they would argue, devolved), and they were quite vocal about it (Rolle a bit more publicly so – Amos kept his criticisms behind the scenes directly with the producers of the show).

It is often said that Amos, sick of the situation, quit the program after the third season (heck, Amos’ Wikipedia page says, “Unhappy with the scripts and tension with producers, he quit the show after the third season.”).

Is that true?
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Was “I Write the Songs” Written About Brian Wilson?

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: “I Write the Songs” was written about Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys.

One of the great pop music ironies is that Barry Manilow’s classic hit song, “I Write the Songs,” was not actually written BY Manilow.

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It was something that Manilow was worried about at the time, initially not wanting to record the song for that very reason, also stating that “It could be misinterpreted as a monumental ego trip.” But record it he did and it became a major success and perhaps his most famous song.

The song was written by Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys (he had left the band for a time in the early 1970s, and that was when he wrote the song in 1975). So was the song really, then, written as a tribute to the genius of Brian Wilson, the famed songwriter for the Beach Boys?
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Why the Heck Was There a Talking Robot in Rocky IV?

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: There was a talking robot in Rocky IV because Sylvester Stallone had been using the robot to work with his autistic child.

Very often, some of the more surprising legends involving Hollywood films come from the influence a film’s writer, director or star has on the film based on their outside interests. For instance, George Lucas’ interest in impressing his daughters nearly led to the band ‘N Sync appearing as Jedis in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Kirk Cameron’s refusal to kiss anyone but his wife led to a bizarre piece of movie magic in Fireproof. It was this same kind of situation that led to one of the strangest movie characters of the 1980s, the talking robot in 1985’s megahit film, Rocky IV.

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Comic Book Legends Revealed #571

Welcome to the five hundred and seventy-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, did Batman first introduce the “What If?” comic? Was DC Comics almost re-named Dynamic Comics in the 1980s? And what’s the deal with the “missing” pilot episode of M.A.S.K.?

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.

Did Jackie Mason Give Ed Sullivan “the Finger” on National Television?

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: Jackie Mason gave Ed Sullivan the “finger” on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Jackie Mason became a stand-up comedian in the late 1950s/early 1960s, after deciding to no longer be a rabbi.

He made a few notable appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, likely THE biggest platform for up and coming performers at the time.

Mason was so popular that within the next year or so, Sullivan booked him to a five-year agreement that he would appear X amount of times on the program for $45,000.

In any event, in October of 1964, while making his twelfth appearance on the program, Mason and Sullivan’s relationship changed…for the worse.
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Did ASCAP Threaten to Sue the Girl Scouts Over Campfire Songs?

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: ASCAP tried to have the Girl Scouts pay for copyrighted songs performed around campfire.

Just last year, President Barack Obama, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, hosted 50 Girl Scouts to a mock campfire on the White House lawn…

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Singing songs around a campfire is a longtime Girl Scout tradition.

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However, did you know that at one point in 1996, ASCAP threatened to sue the Girl Scouts if they didn’t pay for the right to perform said songs at the campfire? Read on to see what happened!
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