How Did a Radio Jingle Save Wheaties?

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: The cereal Wheaties was saved from termination by a radio jingle.

There always needs to be some sort of lucky confluence of events for ANY product to really break through in the marketplace. But sometimes, the events are a bit more out of the ordinary than others. Like, for instance, how Wheaties managed to be saved by something as a simple as a radio jingle.

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Did Wrigley Adapt Chris Brown’s “Forever” For a Doublemint Gum Commercial?

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: Doublemint gum adapted Chris Brown’s “Forever” into a gum commercial.

Whether you think you are familiar with Chris Brown and his hit single, “Forever,” or not, there’s a very decent chance that you heard it as part of the very famous internet video of the wedding where the entire bridal party dances to the song (eventually parodied/referenced on the TV series The Office)…

In any event, the song in the video is Chris Brown’s “Forever.”

As you might notice in the song, there’s a line about “double your pleasure, double your fun,” which is the slogan for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum.

A variation of this song aired in 2008 as a commercial for Doublemint gum with Chris Brown starring in the commercial…

At the time, most folks presumed that, like many many commercials out there (from iPods to Ford Trucks to Caribbean Cruises), Doublemint was using a popular song for their commercial.

Heck, if you check out this YouTube clip of the commercial (courtesy of YouTube user ilikechrisbrn)…

then you will see that ilikechrisbrn even lists the video as “Chris Brown in a new TV commercial for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum featuring the new jingle based on Forever.”

However, amusingly enough, it is actually the OTHER way around.
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #489-493

Here is a collection of the last few Comic Book Legends Revealeds.

Click on any one to go to that column!
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Did Black Widow Nearly Have Her Own Movie Before Iron Man or Thor?

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: Black Widow very nearly had a movie before Iron Man and Thor.

Marvel has had a string of significant successes since they began producing their own films in 2008 with Iron Man. They had a succession of hit films starring Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Hulk that led to one of the biggest movies of all-time, The Avengers. They even turned a group of minor comic book characters who didn’t even exist as a team until 2008, the Guardians of the Galaxy, into the biggest film of 2014.

However, for all of their successes so far, they have yet to come out with a film starring a female superhero and it appears as though Sony will actually have the first Marvel-related film starring a female hero. Reader Dennis L. wrote in to ask if it was true, though, that there was almost a Black Widow film released before Marvel began making their own films. Read on for the answer!
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Were There “Back-Up” Mothers on How I Met Your Mother?

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: There was at least one back-up Mother in the show How I Met Your Mother.

The CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother concluded its impressive nine-year run earlier this year (its final was one of its highest-rated seasons yet – it ended up as CBS’ second-most popular show in the all-important 18-49 demographic, behind only the ratings juggernaut The Big Bang Theory. If CBS had its druthers, the show likely would have continued for even more seasons).

The show was about a man named Ted Mosby (played by Josh Radnor) who was telling his kids in the year 2030 the (rather long) story about how he met their mother (the narrator telling the story through voiceovers is oddly enough not Radnor, but veteran sitcom actor Bob Saget). At the end of season 8, viewers got to meet the mother, played by Cristin Milioti, and the final season showed flash-forwards of the relationship between Ted and the Mother (their first date, his wedding proposal, the birth of their kids) while we waited to finally see their first meeting in the series finale. Reader Lynn J. wrote in, though, to ask if it was true that the show had a number of other characters originally planned as the titular Mother. Read on to see the answer!
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Was Robert Downey Jr. Written Out of His Own Character’s Wedding Episode on Ally McBeal?

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: Robert Downey Jr. was written out of his character’s wedding episode on Ally McBeal.

One thing that TV producers can never fully prepare themselves for is the availability of the actors who are starring in their shows. As I have shown in a number of TV legends over the years, shows have lost lead characters through a variety of circumstances and their responses to the loss have been all over the map, from the the 1970s western TV show that did not even take a break in filming when one of their two leads killed himself to the 1960s science fiction sitcom where the lead actor quit the show twenty episodes into the first season, resulting in the wacky neighbor of the main character suddenly taking over as the guardian of a sexy android. That was the challenge poses to David E. Kelley in 2001 when he suddenly did not have access to actor Robert Downey Jr. for the final episode of Ally McBeal‘s fourth season – an episode where Downey Jr.’s character was to marry Ally McBeal! How did Kelley get out of it?
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Is There Really a Secret Decoder Ring in A Christmas Story?

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 no secret decoder ring in A Christmas Story.

A Christmas Story was a 1983 film by director Bob Clark based on radio personality/writer Jean Shepard’s stories about his childhood growing up during the 1930s.

The film follows nine-year-old Ralphie Parker in the weeks leading up to Christmas in some unnamed year in the late 1930s/early 1940s (Shepard was born in 1921 and Clark was born in 1939, so Clark wanted the film to be set at some point in time between their respective childhoods) as Ralphie tries to convince his parents to get him his dream present, the Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle, despite everyone warning him that “you’ll shoot your eye out”. While Ralphie’s quest for the air rifle is the driving narrative of the film, the movie contains many short general stories about life during the Great Depression, including a famous sequence where young Ralphie finally becomes a member of the Radio Orphan Annie’s Secret Society, a fan club of the Little Orphan Annie radio program. At the end of the latest episode of the show, he decodes the secret message from Annie to her fans. He is disappointed when he learns that the important “secret message” is “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.” Ovaltine, the malted milk powder, was the sponsor of the program and Ralphie had to drink so much Ovaltine to collect enough labels to join Annie’s secret circle that he had grown sick of the product, so he was particularly disappointed to learn about the commercialization of his favorite show (sort of like the Movie Legend about how Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was produced as an elaborate way to sell candy) ” Here are a few descriptions of the scene on the web:

“In order to get the coveted Little Orphan Annie decoder ring — which is required to decode the show’s secret message — Ralphie must send in an ungodly number of Ovaltine labels.”

“Over the holidays I watched “A Christmas Story” for the gazillionth time. One of the scenes in the movie is Ralphie getting his secret decoder ring to unlock the mysteries of the universe.”

“There’s also Ralphie’s seemingly endless wait for the Little Orphan Annie secret decoder ring he sent away for.”

“Ralphie felt understandably ripped off when, after weeks of waiting for his Little Orphan Annie decoder ring, the first message he decoded was simply an advertisement for Ovaltine.”

The interesting thing is that Ralphie never actually receives a secret decoder ring, mostly because secret decoder rings did not exist!
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Did Lost in Space Coin the Term “Does Not Compute?”

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: Lost in Space coined the term “Does Not Compute”

Along with “We Come in Peace” and “Take Me To Your Leader,” one of the most popular science fiction phrases is the robotic “Does Not Compute.” When it comes to the depictions of robots, “Does Not Compute” is a popular phrase because it plays on the notion that robots “compute” rather than “think,” and it is a very cool way of showing a robot reacting differently than a human. Specifically, it is often used to a show a robot struggling with comprehending the types of seemingly contradictory situations that humans have to worry about all of the time. The human mind can deal with cognitive dissonance while a robot’s purely logical-driven “brain” can not. This, therefore, shows that robots can never quite replace humans entirely. Anyhow, the phrase became popular when it was used by the Robot on the hit 1965 television series, Lost in Space.

The robot’s most popular catch phrase was “Danger!” or “Warning!” – this has solidified into the popular consciousness as the phrase “Danger, Will Robinson!” which the Robot actually only said once (Will Robinson is the youngest child of the family that is lost in space), although the robot did frequently warn young Will of danger, just not using that exact phrasing. The Robot has been credited with not only popularizing “Does Not Compute” but also coining the phrase. In the alternative, sometimes the 1966 television series Star Trek has been credited as coining the phrase (the show often used the plot point of computers or robots malfunctioning when given a contradictory problem). The answer, though, as to who coined the phrase is neither show! Instead, the true originator was a sitcom starring a pre-Catwoman Julie Newmar!
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #475-488

Here is a collection of Comic Book Legends Revealed from the last few months.

Click on any one to go to that column!
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Did First Lady Barbara Bush Write an Apology Letter to Marge Simpson?

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: Did First Lady Barbara Bush write an apology letter to Marge Simpson?

With the Simpsons now in their 25th season, it is so hard to remember just how controversial the show was back when it debuted as a regular series back in December 1989 (after appearing as animated shorts on three seasons of The Tracey Ullman Show from 1987-1989). Just the idea of a character, young Bart Simpson, who flouted authority and got away with it, was seen as a dangerous addition to our popular culture. Early on, one of the primary “adversaries” for the show were the First Family of the United States, then-President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. I have written in the past about how the Simpsons “got revenge” on an annoying guest star in a 2001 episode, but when it came to criticisms of the show by the First Lady of the United States, the Simpsons decide to be a good deal more civilized and the response was remarkable!


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