This is the twenty-fourth in a series of examinations of legends from movies and the people who make them and whether they are true or false.
Click here to view an archive of the previous movie urban legends.
MOVIE LEGEND: Jamie Foxx took the name “Jamie” because it sounded like a woman’s name.
Jamie Foxx’s career has come a long way.
From his days on the sketch comedy series, In Living Color (where Foxx first started out as the DJ for the series!)…
To his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show…
To winning the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in Ray…
Jamie Foxx’s career has gone far (and this is not even getting into his successful music career).
It’s interesting to note, though, just how calculated Foxx’s career has been. He has planned on being a star for many years.
Born Eric Marlon Bishop, Foxx had his first taste of fame when he was in high school. He was a notable football player, and was actually featured in national stories about high school football (growing up in Texas, he knew firsthand how important football is).
His dream, though, was to be a musician.
When he graduated high school, he attended the United States International University. While there, he studied classical music and composition.
However, after a couple of years there, he felt that he was better served trying to make it in the entertainment industry NOW rather than wait until he graduated.
So he dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in show business.
Making it as a musician was hard work, and Foxx made a living working in a shoe store.
One night, while out with his girlfriend, she dared him to go on stage on an open-mic comedy night. He liked it so much that he decided to pursue a career in comedy.
He would continue attending open mic comedy nights in his attempts to become a professional comedian.
While doing so, he noticed an interesting trend.
He told Jet magazine:
Three girls would show up and 22 guys would show up. They had to put all the girls on who were on the list to break up the monotony.
So he decided to make up a name that sounded like a female name, so that when he wrote it down at open-mics, it would be called since it was presumed to be a woman comic.
So Eric Bishop became Jamie Foxx (the Foxx came from comedian Redd Foxx, naturally).
And his plan worked, as he would get called to the stage more frequently, and began to make a name for himself.
Pretty soon, he was picked up by In Living Color and the rest, well, I suppose it was history.
Thanks to Jet magazine and Jamie Foxx for the information!
MOVIE LEGEND: The assistant in Frankenstein was named Igor.
An interesting situation that pops up frequently is the case of almost intellectual consolidation. Take a bunch of similar movies and whoever is the most memorable from that group will be what people remember.
That is most likely the situation when you see people refer to Doctor Frankenstein’s hunchback assistant, Igor.
In 1931′s Frankenstein, Doctor Henry Frankenstein does NOT have an assistant named Igor.
He DOES, however, have a weird assistant named Fritz, played by Dwight Frye.
The assistant character does not appear in Mary Shelley’s original novel, but first popped up in a stage adaptation a decade or so after the novel, Presumption: or the Fate of Frankenstein by Richard Brinsley Peake.
In the sequel to the film, 1935′s Bride of Frankenstein, once again, there is no character named Igor.
However, once again, Frye plays a similar character, this time named Karl (unlike Fritz, Karl is a crony who does not actually work for Henry Frankenstein, but for a doctor who is blackmailing Frankenstein into creating a bride for the Monster).
It is the SECOND sequel, 1939′s Son of Frankenstein, that finally introduces an Igor into the series.
In the film, with Basil Rathbone as the titular son of Frankenstein, the great Bela Lugosi plays the assistant, Ygor, who is deformed as a result of a hanging gone wrong.
Ygor is actually the driving figure in the film, as he uses the Monster to get revenge against the jury who convicted him.
Lugosi was such a prominent character that he was brought back for the next sequel, Ghost of Frankenstein, where Ygor’s brain is transplanted into the Monster.
So anyhow, over the years, Lugosi’s Ygor has been transposed in people’s minds as having been the assistant in the original film. Heck, most folks probably think Igor was ALWAYS a part of the Frankenstein mythos, as that is basically how he is treated in the years since.
And he didn’t even show up until the third film!
Poor Fritz, no respect. No respect at all.
He could have been a contender!!
MOVIE LEGEND: Frank Capra had a Machiavellian way to get Claudette Colbert to show her legs in It Happened One Night.
It Happened One Night was a great success when it was released in 1934, becoming a box office smash.
Not only that, but it was the first film (and only film for nearly four decades – and still only one of three films) to sweep the “major” categories, Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, at the Academy Awards.
However, at the time of the filming, the movie was not thought to be much of a big deal by the particulars of the film.
The lead actor, Clark Gable, had a lot of problems with the film’s script.
And Gable was the HAPPY one on set!
Lead actress Claudette Colbert was not the first choice for the picture (nor was Gable, actually), and when offered the part, she initially refused. She had worked on an unsuccessful picture with Capra a number of years earlier, and she wanted nothing more to do with the director.
She finally was coerced into doing the film when her salary was doubled and she was promised that she would be finished in four weeks, so as to not conflict with a planned vacation she had coming up.
Still, once on set, she was not particularly happy, and Capra resorted to all sorts of tricks to keep her interested, including enlisting Gable to play a few little pranks on her to make her feel more at home, and supposedly, it worked, as Colbert later recalled having fun filming the picture, although she still told friends that it was the worst picture she had ever been in (she was more graceful when she won her Oscar, though, stating that her Oscar was all due to Capra).
She would still have a few outbursts during the film, primarily some objections over overly salacious (in her view, at least) aspects of the script.
One such objection was for the now-famous scene where the two characters are hitchhiking.
After Gable’s character gives a speech about the proper way to hitch hike, he promptly fails to get any cars to stop for them.
This leads to Colbert’s character taking a crack at it (while Gable is amused at the notion that she could possibly be better than him at hitch hiking) and succeeding when she shows a little leg…
Originally, though, Colbert refused to do the scene, not wanting to show her legs like that.
So Capra devised a little scheme to get her to do it.
He agreed to not have her do the scene, and just found a particularly shapely extra and had her do the scene, doubling for Colbert.
This promptly led Colbert to decree:
Get her out of here. I’ll do it. That’s not my leg!
And she did, and it was a great scene!
Thanks to Frank Capra’s great auto-biography, The Name Above The Title, for the information!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org